HBO Series, “Show Me a Hero,” Connected to Huntington

The widely acclaimed six hour HBO series that began Sunday, August 16th to run for three consecutive Sundays at 8PM, documents the ferocious political and legal battle in the late 1980s over a court order requiring the City of Yonkers to disperse low income and affordable housing from the segregated African American section of town to the all white, working class and middle class parts of Yonkers. This series is a must see for all people concerned about affordable housing because it documents the fears, hatred and pain on all sides of the issue.  Some of the scenes of angry anti-housing opponents storming the City Council meetings appear to be out of the South during the protests against Jim Crow 20 years earlier, yet they took place just a few miles from Huntington. Interestingly, there is a moment early on in the HBO show when the new mayor decides not to appeal the judge’s decision because his attorneys advised him  Yonkers would surely lose the case.  This may very well have been due to the 1988 decision by the US Supreme Court ordering Huntington to stop placing all its low  income and affordable housing in Huntington Station. You can read a 1988 New York Times analysis of both the Huntington and Yonkers cases here. If you missed the first episode of this excellent HBO series, you can see it On Demand.

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