Racial Integration: Looking for Patterns

Are there any racially integrated towns in NJ that last?

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  • “Buena Vista Township, in the southern Pine Barrens, is an interesting case study. I interviewed Mark Demitroff about the town he grew up in (he’s the white kid in suspenders in the class picture at the top).

Blacks returned at the end of WWI. They had come up from the South to work factory jobs in Philly and New York, then vacated when the doughboys went off to fight. All good things come to an end, and with the soldiers’ return they wanted their jobs back. No way did the Blacks want to return South, so they came to settle cheap farm plots in the Pinelands where old Black charcoal camps had been.

Demitroff went on to tell me that because of some local & state government actors, plus others at the Pinelands Commission pushing forward a sewer system in the Buena Vista Twp hamlet of Richland, (to lead the way for development) it could threaten the demographic makeup of the township.”


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