Howard Beckman 
Member since Jul 11, 2010


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Re: “Gardening Eden

Both of the previous commenters got it wrong because they were making assumptions about "migrant workers". In fact, the author of the article may have made the same assumptions when someone told her about "migrant workers" populating the unincorporated areas of Eden Township. "Migrant workers" was a common term used during World War II and after to refer to the large number of war industry workers who came to the East Bay from all over the country to work in the shipyards and other wartime production facilities. After the war the East Bay had to deal with the huge problem of finding permanent housing for these workers, most of whom wanted to stay here but were living in cramped, temporary quarters. Since a great many of the migrant workers were black, racial bigotry compounded the problem of finding or creating sufficient housing. The unincorporated areas of Alameda County became prime locations for large numbers of "migrant workers". For a fascinating, well-researched history of this post-war housing crunch, that significantly shaped the future social and political landscape of the East Bay, see Marilynn Johnson's "The Second Gold Rush: Oakland and the East Bay in World War II," UC Press, 1993.

In any case, I live in unincorporated Eden Township and know its history. It has never been home to large (or even small) numbers of migrant farm workers. If you think that, you really do not know California.

Posted by Howard Beckman on 07/11/2010 at 11:49 PM

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