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Managing InequalityNorthern Racial Liberalism in Interwar Detroit$
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Karen R. Miller

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479880096

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479880096.001.0001

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“Better Housing Makes Better Citizens”

“Better Housing Makes Better Citizens”

Slum Clearance and Low-Cost Housing

Chapter:
(p.237) 7 “Better Housing Makes Better Citizens”
Source:
Managing Inequality
Author(s):

Karen R. Miller

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479880096.003.0008

This chapter examines debates about race, slum clearance, and low-income housing during the 1930s, wherein both white racial liberals and black residents were testing the federal promise that “better housing makes better citizens.” Public administrators were interested in uplifting white as well as black working-class families. However, for them, the project of producing better citizens was connected to white, not black, tenants of the new buildings in subtle yet clear terms. This distinction between housing all members of the American working class, making “better citizens” out of white families and state recipients out of black residents, began well before publicly funded housing programs opened their doors.

Keywords:   slum clearance, low-income housing, white families, housing projects, working-class families, white racial liberals, black residents

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