Vicious Circle by Langston Hughes, 1957
The magic trick:
A conflict that, sadly, still applies to today’s America
Masterful stuff today from Langston Hughes. Simple – the wonderful character at the center of so many Hughes stories from the 1950s – is ranting and raving again, this time about the racial dynamics of real estate. The story he tells would seem to be rife with absurdity and contradiction. Except that it is 100 percent exactly how life is, even now, more than 60 years later. Sad. You would hope a story like this didn’t have so long a social shelf life. And that’s quite a trick on Hughes’s part.
“Housing, so I hear, is a vicious circle,” declared Simple. “If the first colored family did not move into a white neighborhood, the second one couldn’t. But as soon as one Negro moves in, here comes another one. After a while, so they tell me, we’re right back where we started from – in a slum.”
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