Chapter 4.5: Veterans: Undesirable Heroes



List of Tables, Maps, Illustrations, and Figures


1. Symbolism, Self and Urban Environment
    Residential Succession: How "Losers" Win
    Negro Pioneers and White Flight
    Relative Selectability among Minority Invaders
    Symbolic History and Self
    Symbolic History: Modern and Ancient Foundations

2. Self Selection and Urban Decay
    The Social Character of the Manor

3. Woodland to City Neighborhood: 300 Years of Change
    Indians, Geology and Transportation
    Protecting the Community: Covenant and Zoning
    Increasing Community Parameters

4. Invasion and Succession

    Irish and Italian Catholics
    Veterans: Undesirable Heroes
    Blacks and the Special Problems of Nonwhite Invaders
    Back to City Brownstones: A Confused Invasion
    The Invasion Mentality

5. Micrological Aspects of Urban Problems
    Involuntary Change: Aging and Death
    Attidues of Heirs
    Apartment Houses: The Big Change
    The Life of a Tenant and a Building
    Understanding Intricate Urban Problems

6. Stigma and Self-Image in the Inner City
    Achievement and Residentia Movement
    The Moral Careers of Inner-City Residents
    The Community Paradigm
    Implications and Applications


After the end of the Second World War in 1945, there was a severe housing shortage and apartment shortage in New York City. During the war the construction of new dwelling units was at a standstill, while older buildings were allowed to deteriorate. Over 300,000 servicemen from Brooklyn returned home after the conflict and most sought to set up their own households. Many new families came on the scene as marriages took place after being postponed for the duration of the war. Due to the housing shortage, some of the veterans tried to buy Manor houses and use them for more than single-family occupancy. For the most part, the veterans were white and of various ethnic backgrounds, but to Manorites they lacked adequate social class pedigrees. The Lefferts Manor Association viewed the veterans as "dangerous," and thought that they were trying to "ruin the neighborhood." The Association bitterly fought, and won, the battle against the ex-servicemen.

There is an interesting postscript to this incident. As time passed, many Manorites began to express some regrets about keeping the veterans out of the community. Thirty years later, older Manorites who were active in the Association at that time, and who reflect on the changes they have seen in the community, are likely to admit that perhaps they were wrong: "at least the veterans were white."

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