Planned Integrated Housing in the 1950s
Award winning film directed by Diane Ciccone
Panel Discussion and Q & A
Sunday, February 21, 2 pm
$10, Members $5 – payable at the door
The short documentary film, An Act of Faith, produced and directed by Trenton Museum Society trustee Diane Ciccone is being shown at Ellarslie on Sunday afternoon, February 21, 2016 at 2 pm. The film tells the story of Glen Acres, an integrated neighborhood built off Alexander Road in West Windsor, just over the border from Princeton. The showing will be followed by a panel discussion considering the importance of integrated neighborhoods and a question and answer session.
Following the tumultuous events in the early 1950s, New Jersey’s municipalities searched for ways to integrate neighborhoods and unite communities that had not been done before. It didn’t matter that you were a World War II veteran, housing was closed to all African Americans, even those who had advanced degrees and with executive jobs, housing options were limited to the “black neighborhoods”.
That was until members of three segregated churches decided to change that, and provide housing options. The Princeton Housing Group was formed to create housing for African Americans beyond segregated areas. Princeton and West Windsor were at the forefront of this change.
The film was an outgrowth of the 50th anniversary of Glen Acres in 2008 when Diane Ciccone, a young African American lawyer decided to tell the story in An Act of Faith. It is relevant today and provides lessons as communities struggle to build and maintain affordable housing.
“I really wanted to tell their story,” Ciccone says of the Glen Acres residents who, to this day hold mass reunion picnics commemorating their lasting connection.
“It’s an important story because you really need to know where you came from if you want to know where you’re going. They were a group of people living together because they believed in a world where a person is not judged by the color of his skin.”
An Act of Faith received an honorable mention at the 2013 New Jersey Fall International Film Festival in the short document category and an honorable mention at the 2013 Black Maria Film Festival.
Following the film a panel of architects and community leaders will discuss today’s challenges. Included on the panel are:
John Hatch, FAIA, Clarke Caton Hintz
Beverly Mills, Director of the Mercer County Workforce Investment Board (WIB).
Maurice Coleman, Executive with Bank of America in NYC, specializing in BOA investments in affordable housing, community development and small businesses in low-income areas.
Julia Taylor, Deputy Operations Office at Isles, Inc.
Diana Rogers, Acting Director of the Department of Housing and Economic Development, City of Trenton
Anna Christy Peacock, Affordable Housing Coordinator, Princeton Affordable Housing
Moderated by Diane Ciccone, Trenton Museum Society trustee and attorney in New York City, an Administrative Law Judge, arbitrator and certified mediator.