Donald Trump's father was the racist landlord Woody Guthrie wrote about

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by bent christian, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    New documents reveal how Donald Trump’s racist dad inspired Woody Guthrie’s most bitter writings

    In December 1950, Woody Guthrie signed his name to the lease of a new apartment in Brooklyn. Even now, over half a century later, that uninspiring document prompts a double-take.

    Below all the legal jargon is the signature of the man who had composed “This Land Is Your Land,” the most resounding appeal to an equal share for all in America. Below that is the signature of Donald Trump’s father, Fred. No pairing could appear more unlikely.

    Guthrie’s two-year tenancy in one of Fred Trump’s buildings and his relationship with the real estate mogul of New York’s outer boroughs produced some of Guthrie’s most bitter writings, which I discovered on a recent trip to the Woody Guthrie Archives in Tulsa. These writings have never before been published; they should be, for they clearly pit America’s national balladeer against the racist foundations of the Trump real estate empire.

    Recalling these foundations becomes all the more relevant in the wake of the racially charged proclamations of Donald Trump, who last year announced, “My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy.”

    A champion for equality
    By the time he moved into his new apartment, Guthrie had traveled a long road from the casual racism of his Oklahoma youth.

    He’d learned along the way that the North held no special claim to racial enlightenment. He had written songs such as “The Ferguson Brothers Killing,” which condemned the out-of-hand police killing of the unarmed Charles and Alfonso Ferguson in Freeport, Long Island, in 1946, after the two young black men had been refused service in a bus terminal cafe.

    In “Buoy Bells from Trenton,” he denounced the miscarriage of justice in the case of the so-called “Trenton Six” – black men convicted of murder in 1948 by an all-white jury in a trial marred by official perjury and manufactured evidence.

    And in 1949, he’d stood shoulder to shoulder with Paul Robeson, Howard Fast and Pete Seeger against the mobs of Peekskill, New York, where American racism at its ugliest had inspired 21 songs from his pen (one of which, “My Thirty Thousand,” was recorded by Billy Bragg and Wilco).

    A postwar housing haven – for whites
    In the postwar years, with the return of hundreds of thousands of servicemen to New York, affordable public housing had become an urgent priority.

    For the most part, low-cost housing projects had been left to cash-strapped state and city authorities. But when the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) finally stepped in to issue federal loans and subsidies for urban apartment blocks, one of the first developers in line, with his eye on the main chance, was Fred Trump. He made a fortune not only through the construction of public housing projects but also through collecting the rents on them.

    When Guthrie first signed his lease, it’s unlikely that he was aware of the murky background to the construction of his new home, the massive public complex that Trump had dubbed “Beach Haven.”

    Trump would be investigated by a U.S. Senate committee in 1954 for profiteering off of public contracts, not least by overestimating his Beach Haven building charges to the tune of US$3.7 million.

    What Guthrie discovered all too late was Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of the FHA’s guidelines for avoiding “inharmonious uses of housing” – or as Trump biographer Gwenda Blair puts it, “a code phrase for selling homes in white areas to blacks.” As Blair points out, such “restrictive covenants” were common among FHA projects – a betrayal, if ever there was one, of the New Deal vision that had given birth to the agency.

    ‘Old Man Trump’s’ color line
    Only a year into his Beach Haven residency, Guthrie – himself a veteran – was already lamenting the bigotry that pervaded his new, lily-white neighborhood, which he’d taken to calling “Bitch Havens.”

    In his notebooks, he conjured up a scenario of smashing the color line to transform the Trump complex into a diverse cornucopia, with “a face of every bright color laffing and joshing in these old darkly weeperish empty shadowed windows.” He imagined himself calling out in Whitman-esque free verse to the “negro girl yonder that walks along against this headwind / holding onto her purse and her fur coat”:

    I welcome you here to live. I welcome
    you and your man both here to Beach Haven to love in any
    ways you please and to have some kind of a decent place to
    get pregnant in and to have your kids raised up in. I'm
    yelling out my own welcome to you.

    For Guthrie, Fred Trump came to personify all the viciousness of the racist codes that continued to put decent housing – both public and private – out of reach for so many of his fellow citizens:

    I suppose
    Old Man Trump knows
    Just how much
    Racial Hate
    he stirred up
    In the bloodpot of human hearts
    When he drawed
    That color line
    Here at his
    Eighteen hundred family project ....

    And as if to leave no doubt over Trump’s personal culpability in perpetuating black Americans’ status as internal refugees – strangers in their own strange land – Guthrie reworked his signature Dust Bowl ballad “I Ain’t Got No Home” into a blistering broadside against his landlord:

    Beach Haven ain't my home!
    I just cain't pay this rent!
    My money's down the drain!
    And my soul is badly bent!
    Beach Haven looks like heaven
    Where no black ones come to roam!
    No, no, no! Old Man Trump!
    Old Beach Haven ain't my home!

    In 1979, 12 years after Guthrie had succumbed to the death sentence of Huntington’s Disease, Village Voice reporter Wayne Barrett published a two-part exposé about Fred and Donald Trump’s real estate empire.

    Barrett devoted substantial attention to the cases brought against the Trumps in 1973 and 1978 by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. A major charge was that “racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents” had “created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity.” The most damning evidence had come from Trump’s own employees. As Barrett summarizes:

    According to court records, four superintendents or rental agents confirmed that applications sent to the central [Trump] office for acceptance or rejection were coded by race. Three doormen were told to discourage blacks who came seeking apartments when the manager was out, either by claiming no vacancies or hiking up the rents. A super said he was instructed to send black applicants to the central office but to accept white applications on site. Another rental agent said that Fred Trump had instructed him not to rent to blacks. Further, the agent said Trump wanted “to decrease the number of black tenants” already in the development “by encouraging them to locate housing elsewhere.”

    Guthrie had written that white supremacists like the Trumps were “way ahead of God” because

    God dont
    know much
    about any color lines.

    Guthrie hardly meant this as a compliment. But the Trumps – father and son alike – might well have been arrogant enough to see it as one. After all, if you find yourself “way ahead of God” in any kind of a race, then what else must God be except, well, “a loser”? And we know what Donald Trump thinks about losers.

    One thing is certain: Woody Guthrie had no time for “Old Man Trump.”

    We can only imagine what he would think of his heir.
  2. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Good read. New Yorkers know Trump which is why he's hated here. Him and his father have long racist pasts in their real estate business. Nothing to fear though. When the media is finished getting him the nomination, then they'll start to tear him down. Gotta keep those clicks coming.
  3. bent christian thread starter Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    He is unwelcome here in Chicago as well.

    I wonder what his game plan is. Will any business be dumb enough to associate themselves with this fool when the campaign ends?
  4. FieldingMellish Suspended

    Jun 20, 2010
    That was a time when racism reigned. NY Times ought to know that, selectively omitting Democrats in white sheets. But that would spoil its narrative. Real estate did red line in those days, since corrected.
  5. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
  6. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    How will the media do that? They've been slandering him since he announced he was running for President, and it seems to be backfiring pretty badly. The only thing they can do is completely ignore him, which they won't because people want to read/hear about Trump.
  7. bent christian thread starter Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    That's why lenders were still being sued and were losing their cases or were settling in the year 2015. The post-racial Right-wing bubble you live in is a fantasy.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 22, 2016 ---
    Backfiring? Really?

    Media outlets love to cover a circus like this. It means they don't have to address any real issues.

    Trump is very popular with the most vile elements of the Republican party. These people represent an extreme minority in the general population. This is why they are viewed as such an oddity. Emboldened by their candidate's perceived success and popularity (they are not bright people, few have much education at all), these people have become very vocal about their views and about their guy. These are the people who used to seethe with rage under the surface. Now they are "freed", free to essentially shout the N-word out loud, as loud as they please and in public. They don't understand that Trump can do well as a regional candidate, but Trump can never win a nation election. The same goes for any Republican running in 2016.
  8. stroked Suspended


    May 3, 2010
    Since when is a candidates, father's history relevant? The left sure ignored Barack Hussein Obama Sr's history.
  9. ericgtr12 macrumors 65816


    Mar 19, 2015
    We didn't ignore him, we just refused to let you guys falsely claim Obama was born in his native country.
  10. FieldingMellish Suspended

    Jun 20, 2010
    The fantasy is yours. In the American working world, there's been decades of racial harmony in both corporate and non-profit settings. People of all colors get along and toil to take care of their families; total anathema to the divisive and vituperative Left, who foments, feeds and profits on racial discord.
  11. bent christian thread starter Suspended

    bent christian

    Nov 5, 2015
    Oh, look at that. We have a poster with a confederate flag avatar here to defend Trump. Awesome.

    This morning, Trump, AGAIN, retweeted posts from a White supremacist source.

    --- Post Merged, Jan 22, 2016 ---
    Let's stay on the topic you brought up, OK?

    We were talking about redlining, how it once happened, and how (you say) it has since been corrected. Lenders are still being sued. They are still paying fines and are being forced to change their practices.

    In the lily White fantasy world you live in "there's been decades of racial harmony". This does not comport with the reality and the life experiences of non-Whites.

    I just love it when White males step in to tell us all about the state of American minority life. Who better to ask, right?
  12. stroked Suspended


    May 3, 2010
    Deflect, that's the best you can do? typical
  13. Oudinot, Jan 22, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2016

    Oudinot macrumors regular


    Mar 16, 2013
    Birmingham, AL USA
    Who gives a rip? This thread is a piece of **** looking for a place to drop.
  14. \-V-/ Suspended


    May 3, 2012
    No offense, but it is hard to take someone seriously with that flag in their avatar ... or waving in the wind on top of their big ass pickup trucks.
  15. stroked, Jan 22, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2016

    stroked Suspended


    May 3, 2010
    Oudinot is good. He posted the perfect response to your post, before you posted it.
    "Who gives a rip? This thread is a piece of **** looking for a place to drop."
  16. FieldingMellish, Jan 23, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016

    FieldingMellish Suspended

    Jun 20, 2010

    Your words are that of the bitter racist with a poisoned sole. This white male works in the real world among people of color and relations are strong. It dates back to birth in a diverse neighborhood before diverse became a leftist catchphrase. Love among races I knew grew among those of us involved in creative, musical and sports pursuits, and also just hanging out being buds. Character, as spoken by Dr. King, is what rules.
  17. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Not to defend or excuse Trump senior's actions. But the fact of the matter is that for much of post-WWII history, the real estate business in general was centered on fundamentally racist practices. Often encouraged and enabled by Federally-backed lending programs that red-lined minority neighborhoods. This had the effect of making it extremely hard for many African-American families to build up the sort of equity in their homes that most present-day middle-class Americans have as their main source of family wealth.
  18. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
    A guy in the 1950s was a racist? Good god how did that happen!? Never heard of such a thing until NOW!
  19. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    Whenever I see stories like this, bashing Trump, I find it hard to believe this bothers people. The US has already had Bush 1 and Bush 2 in office with so many links to middle eastern funded terror groups but people care more about making sure a real estate businessman with bad hair doesn't get into office. Donald Trump is bad bad bad, but Jeb Bush is great! :confused: When people take the focus off of defaming others, and making the effort to getting more quality people running for office we might actually have a shot at change for the better in this world.
  20. webbuzz macrumors 65816


    Jul 24, 2010
    You mean people don't like seeing his name on a building.
  21. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    I'll agree with the "sins of the father" angle.

    But that doesn't make the article a "piece of sh*t." It's an interesting historical tidbit. Paul Harvey made a career out of telling stories like this.

    Though while interesting and amusing, (or appalling) it shouldn't change anybody's mind on whether Donald Trump is good candidate for president.
  22. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    I'm not down with "yea and his dad was a d**k head too" stuff, family stays out even if the candidate brings them in. Family is never fair game.

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