Grace Bureau, a student at Gustavus Adolphus College, has packed up and will leave Minneapolis for good today. She wrote in The College Fix about her decision. Yes, she is in her 20s and lots of people leave home at that age.
But she is being forced to leave because of riots. That is a huge deal.Minneapolis has been a hellhole for almost a year now. George Floyd died in police custody after overdosing on fentanyl. A jury convicted the officer who pinned him down of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.
Between his death and the conviction, activists and anarchists tore up the city. They destroyed 1,500 buildings.
Sane people are saying OK, you win — and are leaving.
Bureau wrote, “I’m too afraid to even walk in my neighborhood by myself.
“The ACE Hardware down the street? The one that I used to bike to in the summer? Robbed twice in the past five days.
“The Walgreens next to my elementary school? Molotov cocktail thrown into it.
“The Lake Harriet Bandshell, where we spent countless Mother’s Days? Homeless encampment popped up next door.
“These are the things you don’t read about in the news.”
Her words took me back to the summer of 1966, which began with Sonny Siebert tossing a no-hitter on June 10 against the Washington Senators.
I was 12 going on 13. I had just finished my first year at Alexander Hamilton Junior High, a predominately black middle class school outside my district. My family was poor. They had a major works program for above average students. I made the mistake of getting Straight A’s in sixth grade so I could get a pair of tickets to an Indians game courtesy of the Cleveland Press.
A month after that no-hitter came the Hough riots. And 3 months later, we moved across town to all-white Lakewood because the neighborhood I grew up in was gone. Just a year or two earlier, you could walk the streets at night and no one locked the door. That vanished seemingly overnight.
Of course, every liberal now puts the exodus from the cities down as White Flight.
Last fall, William Voegeli wrote in City Journal about White Flight.
He began, “Speaking at an October 2019 Obama Foundation Summit, Michelle Obama reminisced about growing up in South Shore, a Chicago lakefront neighborhood. Some memories were bitter. The former First Lady, born in 1964, lamented living through white flight. As ‘upstanding families like ours, who were doing everything we were supposed to do . . . moved in,’ she said, ‘white folks moved out.’
“In her telling, the whites who abandoned South Shore had motives as obvious as they were ugly, choosing to relocate because ‘they were afraid of what our families represented.’ They voted with their U-Hauls to reject families like hers because of ‘the color of our skin’ and ‘the texture of our hair,’ those ‘artificial things that don’t even touch on the values that people bring to life. And so, yeah, I feel a sense of injustice.’ “
Of course, there is more to the story than she tells because she has no personal memories of the 1960s. She was 5 when they ended.
I remember them through a slightly older child’s eyes. We lived between Little Italy and Little Budapest. Old ladies spoke Hungarian and Italian over the fences.
In the 1950s, there were plenty of kids on the street to play with. By 1966, there were Wilbur Smith, me, and Frankie Blackowski (and his sister and brother). We lived on a hill. Slowly, the black population was expanding quite literally up the hill.
The older kids had gotten jobs, gotten married, and gotten out. They moved to newly built homes in the suburbs leaving behind little cottages with a widow or a retired couple inside. No one wanted to live in the old homes with the postage stamp yards. They wanted clean air (the Cuyahoga River was not the only pollution problem in Cleveland). They wanted good schools. They wanted something new and fresh.
In his piece on white flight, Voegeli hit upon that element. Whites fled the city not because black people were moving in, but because the suburbs offered a better quality of life.
He wrote, “Suburbanization was a phenomenon even in metropolises that saw little demographic change from the Great Migration. Leah Boustan cites Minneapolis–St. Paul, which, after World War II, saw only a small increase in the number of black residents but rapid growth of its suburbs. The ‘newly prosperous families,’ she writes, were ‘seeking larger houses and more open space.’ In Lost Cities (1995), Alan Ehrenhalt discusses Elmhurst, a Chicago suburb 16 miles west of the Loop. The newcomers who bought its new ranch houses and split-levels were ‘refugees from Chicago apartments,’ he writes, ‘fleeing all the things suburbanites fled in the 1950s: landlords and cooking smells, neighbors one flight above or uncomfortably close next door, physical surroundings that carried indelible reminders of hard times years ago.’ One new resident told the Elmhurst Press, ‘It is wonderful to be able to see grass and trees, instead of hallways and speeding automobiles.’ “