Will Kaufman, the author of UIP’s Woody Guthrie: American Radical, just published a piece in The Conversation about a recent discovery he made in the Guthrie archives. Maybe you’ve seen it referenced all over the Internet. Well, Kaufman kickstarted the meme with his article. Revealed: Woody Guthrie hated his Brooklyn landlord. That’s nothing unusual, granted. But Guthrie’s landlord happened to be would-be real estate baron Fred Trump, father of Donald.
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 Federal Housing Authority projects—a betrayal, if ever there was one, of the New Deal vision that had given birth to the agency.
A fascinating and timely article provoking other timely articles, for instance here.