• “Levittown: Alter, Joseph, residence. “Children's room” in a Levittown, New York residence, 1955. Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, California via California Digital Library.

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    Levittown: Alter, Joseph, residence. Children's room. Levittown, NY
    • Date
    • 1955 July
    • Creator
    • Parker, Maynard L., 1901-1976.
    • Description
    • Levittown: Alter, Joseph, residence. Children's room. Levittown, NY.
    • Rights
    • Copyright to the photography of Maynard L. Parker has been assigned to the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California. All requests for permission to publish or reproduce images in any form must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Phot... more
      Copyright to the photography of Maynard L. Parker has been assigned to the Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California. All requests for permission to publish or reproduce images in any form must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Photographs, The Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108. Credit shall read as follows: Maynard L. Parker, Courtesy of The Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif. less
    • Partner
    • California Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Huntington Library, Photo Archives

  • “Priest, other speaker address crowd regarding open housing in Levittown,” 1957. Courtesy of the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, University of Georgia via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    PRIEST, OTHER SPEAKER ADDRESS CROWD REGARDING OPEN HOUSING IN LEVITTOWN
    • Date
    • 1957-08-19
    • Creator
    • WSB-TV (Television station : Atlanta, Ga.)
    • Description
    • Title supplied by cataloger. Original found in the WSB-TV newsfilm collection.
    • Rights
    • Http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/. Cite as: wsbn33653, (No title), WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0749, 34:53/36:29, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga.
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia
    • Contributing Institution
    • Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection

Levittown, a suburban community on Long Island, New York, began development and was ready for occupancy in 1947, just in time for the postwar demand for housing. The first subdivision to boast thousands of cookie-cutter single-family homes, manicured lawns and and wide streets, it is considered the archetype of the American suburb. Levittown eventually had 17,447 houses containing 82,000 people. For parents in postwar America, Levittown and the suburban life it represented were safe places to raise children away from the dangers of city life and bad influences.

Not everyone was encouraged to move their families to Levittown. A whites-only policy was printed in the original Levittown standard lease, although it was dropped in 1948. However, when the first African American family moved to Levittown, Pennsylvania, in 1957, a second development built by the Levitts in the same model as the first, homeowners protested on the new residents’ lawn.

Levittown embodied the spirit of conformity that critics described at the heart of suburban life. It demonstrated that within this model of policed sameness, there was plenty of room for discrimination.