Posted on 06/19/2008

Photo taken on August  1, 1957

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Deepgreen Lane
Bill and Daisy Myers
York Pennsylvania
Bristol Township
African American
Dogwood Hollow

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Trouble in Levittown Pennsylvania

Trouble in Levittown Pennsylvania
Levittown, August 1957

Bill and Daisy Myers moved into a pink Levittowner Type 2 model home at 43 Deepgreen Lane in the Dogwood Hollow section of Levittown in Bristol Township.

The Myers were young, college educated and the parents of three small children. Their move would not have been unusual, except that they were black and Levittown was for whites only.

“We were not out to break the color line to make a point. The main purpose for buying that house was that we needed a third bedroom because we had just had a little girl. We were not political exhibitionists. Even today, I would not think of going out and marching or protesting. We were quiet, family people,” said Daisy Myers, 83, a retired elementary school principal who lives in York, south-central Pennsylvania. Bill Myers died in 1987.

That day — Aug. 13, 1957 — alarms were set off by the mailman who, learning that the Myers had bought the house, went down Deepgreen Lane shouting, “It's happened! [blacks] have moved into Levittown!”

The mailman did not use the word “blacks.”

At first, knots of housewives gathered across the street. Daisy Myers saw them spit and curse. By nightfall, some 300 people milled about the house. They threw rocks and smashed windows.

Crowds came nightly. There were daily death threats. Eight crosses were burned, one of them on the lawn of next-door neighbors Lew and Bea Wechsler, who had defended the Myers' right to live in Levittown.

The Levittown Betterment Committee was formed specifically to force the Myers out, peacefully if possible. If peace didn't work, other “options” would be considered, the group's leader ominously warned.

The Ku Klux Klan created a Klavern in Levittown. The Klan's chief recruiter kept applications in his family Bible at his Levittown home.

Bristol Township Police Chief John R. Stewart claimed he was doing what he could for the Myers, though privately he called Bill Myers a communist, according to Daisy Myers.

Stewart demoted one of his sergeants when the officer complained publicly that the chief had ordered the police to direct the rubberneckers through the neighborhood, and nothing more.

Large bottles filled with gasoline and topped with cotton wicks were discovered in bushes near the bedroom of the Myers' youngest child, Lynda, who was 2 months old.

The family fled their home three times within the first two weeks.

“It was frightening, but it was our home and we had a right to live there,” Daisy Myers recalled.

Gov. George Leader, fed up with Stewart's inaction, sent the state police to restore order, protect the Myers and prosecute harassers.

The Myers moved to York in 1961. Bristol Township publicly apologized in 1999.

“We could never really put Levittown behind us,” Daisy Myers said. “It was like a deep wound that healed. But like a wound, there are aftereffects. There is always something that triggers a memory. Has 50 years gone by? So quick,” she said.

She holds no grudges.

“We knew most of the people in Levittown were good but were probably too frightened to say anything,” she said. “The troublemakers were just a handful.”

Occasionally, when she speaks publicly, Daisy Myers quotes a statistic from the 2000 census.

Eighty-six percent of white Americans live in suburban neighborhoods where less than 1 percent of the population is black. Today, Levittown's population is 3 percent black.

“Well, that's some progress,” she said.

Daisy D Myers, "Sticks n Stones: The Myers Family in Levvittown"

B C has particularly liked this photo

How sad .... mans inhumanity to man.

Evil doers will not go unpunished, the Lord will have the last laugh. To those that doubt hear me now believe me when it is too late.
Galatians 6:7
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

2 Peter 3:4-9
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
3 years ago.
~Kicha~ has replied to B C
Amen and Amen!
3 years ago.