In a nation of homeowners, where owning property is still The Dream, New York stands out as a city of life-long renters. Renters today are struggling to maintain the hard-won policies and conventions that made New York a city in which renters could play vital roles in civic life presenting creative, and often politically progressive, alternatives to models of citizenship based on owning property.
In her project, The Renters’ Archive, Dr. Adeola Enigbokan reconstructs personal histories of renting in one New York neighborhood, during the era immediately following World War II. In the United States, this post-War era was characterized by the entrance of masses of white Americans into the middle class, on the heels of governmental policies favoring low-cost suburban homeownership. On the other hand, the same period saw the institutionalization of racist practices, such as redlining and block busting, which served to divest the inner cities, relegating black and Latino families to poor living conditions. Despite these conditions, redlined neighborhoods like Harlem, New York, became sites of personal and political experimentation, in which everyday people actively joined together to find creative ways of improving their living situations.
"The Renters' Archive: Imagining Equal Housing for All" is part of the 6-week Obscura Talks series.
Monday, November 23 at 8pm.
600 Vanderbilt Avenue
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