Whites Protesting at Black Homes : Philadelphia Mayor Declares Emergency
Mayor W. Wilson Goode today declared a state of emergency in a neighborhood where crowds of whites chanting “Beat it!” staged two nights of noisy demonstrations outside the homes of blacks.
“It is time for the city to assume control over the streets in that neighborhood,” Goode said.
His order prohibits people from congregating outside in groups of more than four, with exceptions for recreational or religious activities or people waiting for public transportation.
About 300 whites demonstrated Thursday night outside the home of a black man and his white wife, some chanting, “We have rights too!” “Move, move, move!” and “Beat it!”
The night before, about 400 people, many shouting, “We want them out!” demonstrated a few blocks away at the southwest Philadelphia home of a black couple.
Police, who have posted a 24-hour watch at the two homes, said there were no arrests and no violence at either demonstration.
“While we were moving in people yelled a lot of slurs at us,” said Carol Fox, 30, the white woman who moved to the neighborhood Sunday with her black husband, Gerald, and two children.
“They called us niggers and yelled, ‘You’ve got it coming!’
“If they don’t like us, fine. Don’t talk to us, that’s OK. We bought this house, so we’re here to stay.”
Some residents said they object to blacks moving into the white enclave, but others denied that the demonstrations are racial and accused real estate agents and the Veterans Adminstration of seeking out blacks and rejecting white bids.
VA loan officer Ron Veltman said that race wasn’t an issue, that each two-story brick home went to the highest bidder--one for $21,000 and the other $20,000.
“I didn’t expect it to be anything like this,” said Charles Williams, 23, who moved in Oct. 30 with his wife and 7-year-old daughter.
“I don’t know what to do,” he said after the rally Wednesday. “I was standing there and watching them, and it bothered me a lot.”