CITIES: Fear in Forest Hills

The anger, the curses, the denunciation of public officials, the rock throwing—all evoked memories of Little Rock and Selma. But this was not the South resisting racial integration. This was New York, that reputed citadel of liberalism.

The protest against a large public-housing project for low-income—and presumably mostly black—residents did not occur in a neighborhood of George Wallaceite hardhats or poor whites. The emotion erupted in Forest Hills, Queens, a comfortable community of mostly middle-class Jews, who had struggled for years against the discrimination that long prevented them from living there.

Most of the anger was directed at New York Mayor...

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