Segregation in New York City affects people of different races and income levels in deeply personal ways. In Rosedale, Queens in the 1970s, for example, African Americans encountered resistance while integrating a mostly white neighborhood, a topic that LaGuardia Community College students explored in a research project. (See the link to the video below.)
In 2015, La Guardia students staged a production of Lorraine Hansberry’s "A Raisin in the Sun" (1959), a play about a black family’s attempt to integrate Clybourne Park, a white neighborhood in Chicago. The play sheds light on the often overlooked struggle for racial equality in northern cities.
The production stimulated a dialogue among the students and Professor Stefanie Sertich of the theater program at LaGuardia about the challenges of performing the roles of complex characters, afflicted by poverty and discrimination. The group also discussed the fight for racial integration in the 1960s in the predominantly white neighborhood of Laurelton, Queens with resident Clarice Hamer. The students performed the play in part to help understand the conflicts in Queens and to provide dramatic excerpts to enhance the Rosedale video.
The students also compared the challenges of racial integration in the past with the contemporary problem of gentrification in their Brooklyn and Bronx neighborhoods. Gentrification entails the movement of high-income residents into working-class or low-income neighborhoods, usually of color, leading to a renovation of existing housing, increased rents and property taxes, an altered street life, and the displacement of previous residents. It is transforming the neighborhoods where the student actors live today.
Rosedale Video: https://www.youtube.com/wat...