Surrogate Suburbs: Black Upward Mobility and Neighborhood Change in Cleveland, 1900-1980

By Todd M. Michney | Go to book overview

Introduction
“SECOND GHETTO” OR SURROGATE SUBURB?
BLACK MOBILITY IN THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY OUTER CITY

You can squeeze ’em in the ghetto,
An’ with written covenant,
Make ’em live in teeming hovels
Where they pay excessive rent.
You can threaten banks an’ bankers
An’ make money hard to get,
But there’ll always be some fishes
Who escape the jim-crow net.

So in free an’ liberal Cleveland
Where the bigots hide their hand
There has been a constant movement
To the East Side “promised land”
‘Cause the lure of ready money
An’ the yen to make a buck
Is what trips the race-containers
Who are simply out of luck.

Sure the banks refuse you money,
An’ the neighbors start to yell,
An’ the bigots stir their stooges
Into raisin’ lots of hell.
But the movin’ fnger’s writin’
An’ the words are plain as day,
An’ the courts have spoken plainly
That jim-crow is dead to stay.

An’ us Negroes on the sidelines
Have to give a silent cheer,
To the Negro who is willing,
To become a pioneer
On the road that leads away from
Rotten houses in the ghetto
An’ who’re deaf to racial discord
Of the bigots liberetto [sic].1

-1-

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