Written by Aliya Moudud, a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College studying politics and advocacy work.
Professor Linwood Lewis’ lecture, “Race and Environment in the City of Seven Hills” situates the desegregation case and the accompanying “un-civil” reactions within a social and environmental history of Yonkers. The presentation spans from the last Ice Age more than 18,000 years ago, which created the city’s physical environment, to present day social, economic and migratory perspectives. Lewis outlines long standing racial and fiscal divides that the case and issue of housing accentuated. He provides a timeline of proceedings and the legal arguments offered by the NAACP, as well as how different communities reacted to the case and how these standpoints were presented in the media. By integrating videos, pictures, topography and audience participation, Professor Lewis repositions the case within its social, physical and historical context and decenters the dominant narrative presented at the time. Most importantly, this lecture posits the legacy of the case and its impact on the city of Yonkers.
This video is part of a local history lecture series in partnership with the library and Sarah Lawrence College funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.