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Emily DArchangelis

Professor Russo & Hazlitt

COR 390-01

26 June 2014

Segregation in New York City

Most people would agree that one of the greatest things about New York City is the
mixed races, cultures and religions of the people that live amongst each other. People from
all over the world came to New York to settle in a new, free land and with that came their
culture. But unfortunately, there was a time when all these new cultures were not seen as
something to celebrate but rather something to discriminate against. People of a different
race, religion, sexual orientation or cultures were being segregated and treated like
anything but equal. Through our explorations this past month, I was fortunate enough to
visit locations in which stances against segregation took place such as The Stonewall Inn on
Christopher Street and places were culture is so rich and thriving like East Harlem.
Through these places I really got to understand what New York City was about.
As we made our way north of Central Park, we found ourselves exploring East
Harlem or as many now call it, Spanish Harlem. The neighborhood which has been
experiencing a wave of gentrification in recent years, has been home to several ethnic
communities since it was developed in the late 19
century. (ENY, 85) East Harlem was
unlike any other area we have been in. Each block we went down had mosaics and murals
of people that only those of that area would understand. It was truly beautiful to see such
honor and appreciation throughout a whole community. But East Harlem struggled a great
deal with poverty during the 1960s. When areas such as East Harlem start hitting such
high poverty rates, this affects the whole city. Crime starts
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going up, unemployment, and city housing otherwise known as the projects start
becoming a way of life. This all drastically started to change the way people lived, including
children. The 1960s saw a continuous struggle between communities and the board of
education, resulting in a number of boycotts. (Sharman, 90) With the boycotting of school,
this left children to roam the streets. When these people were given no chance to succeed,
of course the results were going to be those of community in which people did not want to
live. But by the 1990s, people started to understand and accept the culture of those whole
settled in East Harlem and it became a desirable place to live.
Out of all the places that we visited in New York City, East Harlem had to be the
place with the most culture and pride. Like stated earlier, every street had some sort of
tribute to a local icon. Small shops and restaurants that kept the heart and soul of their
culture intact were welcoming to anyone who entered. Thanks to early segregation, many
people might right away assume that Spanish Harlem is not a desirable place to be, but they
could not be anymore wrong.
Another place we went that was a good example of segregation was Greenwich Village. It
was in this area that some of the worlds biggest protests about the segregation and
inequality of the Gay Community took place. The Stonewall Inn located on Christopher
Street is one of the most well-known and important areas in the fight for marriage equality.
In a time during the mid to late 60s when it was illegal to even serve people of the gay
community, the Stonewall Inn acted as a safe haven for those who had no where else to go.
After being treated unfairly and being targeted by people and cops, the gay community
decided to take a stand for what they believed in which eventually lead to six days of
rioting outside of the Stonewall Inn. In the wake of the riots, intense discussions about
civil rights were held among New York's LGBT people which led to the formation of various
advocacy groups such as the short-lived Gay Liberation Front. (Hall, 539.) Because of these
riots, the gay community was able band together to fight for the
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equal rights they deserved and within the next year, the first Gay Pride Parade was formed
in LA. The Stonewall riots inspired LGBT people throughout the country to organize in
support of gay rights, and within two years after the riots, gay rights groups had been
started in nearly every major city in the United States. (Gillespie 540)
All throughout New York there were people of different races, religions, sexual
orientations and ethnicities that were victim to brutal hate and mistreatment but it was
also in thanks to these people that the world was able to open their eyes to all the amazing
things that all these different people have to offer. Segregation has had profound adverse
social, political and economic consequences at the macro level, but at the micro level, there
may be some collateral positive consequences as well. Ethnic density may contribute to
longevity by providing the heart (in a) heartless world. (Inagami, 12) East Harlem and
Greenwich Village have two very different make ups, but yet they both fought for the same
things, for the people of their community to be heard and eventually, they were.

Work Cited

Gillespie, W. (2008). Thirty-Five Years After Stonewall: An Exploratory Study of
Satisfaction with Police Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Persons at the 34th Annual
Atlanta Pride Festival. Journal Of Homosexuality, 55(4), 619-647.

HALL, S. (2010). The American Gay Rights Movement and Patriotic Protest. Journal
Of The History Of Sexuality, 19(3), 536-562.

Inagami, S., Borrell, L., Wong, M., Fang, J., Shapiro, M., & Asch, S. (2006). Residential
segregation and Latino, black and white mortality in New York City. Journal Of Urban
Health: Bulletin Of The New York Academy Of Medicine, 83(3), 406-420.

RUSSO, M., CULLINAN, M. (2014) Essential New York. NY: Ars Omnia Press