White Plains is a “diverse” community but it was not always. Census reporting gives the best way to examine the changes. Looking around on the streets or in the stores and those in our School district are not necessarily reflected in the same demographics as the total numbers living in City.
Population from first census of 1790 recorded 550 residents with 40 being slaves. In 1820, WP had 675 of which 63 were free blacks and 8 slaves. Slavery ended in 1827 in NY. In 1870, population was 2,630.
Most of the first settlers that came to WP from Rye were either born in Europe or were their descendants. Many were Christian. WP had an agriculturally based economy starting in 1683. Do not know when the first slaves came?
Urban renewal of 60’s and 70’s eliminated many Italians and African Americans living in Business District. Affordable housing was available (Winbrook 1949) as well as other parts of the City but many did leave the City.
To be noted is that demographics is important especially in shaping our economy and communities but our identity in any given group should not diminish any other group. Feelings often get in the way of how we perceive others and cloud our openness to see how others experience their worlds.
……to be continued……