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Racism in Glendale

December 03, 1987

In the early 1940s, when I was a student at Franklin High School in nearby Highland Park, I heard that any Negro found on the streets of Glendale after dark would be arrested. When I worked for a title insurance company in this county, deed restrictions limiting ownership of Glendale properties to "white" people often came to my attention. In the period following World War II, whole blocks of Glendale property owners, fearful of "racial disintegration," recorded covenants to bar black ownership.

Many of these people are probably still alive and contributing to that picture drawn by the article on racism in Glendale (Nov. 26). The people who moved to Glendale at that time to bask in its lily white image produced children whose views reflected their own and who still live in Glendale.

Of course, now racism is unpopular, and where it exists it is denied or glossed over. It should be remembered that the tyranny of racial restrictions was lifted less than 25 years ago, virtually over the dead bodies of Boards of Realtors. I have some vivid memories of the fight to preserve the Rumford Fair Housing Act of California, which was utterly opposed not just by Glendale (and other) realtors but by local government officials. The history of racism in Glendale is a long and depressing story. And it doesn't seem to be over yet.

KENNETH H. BONNELL

Eagle Rock

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