The Great Replacement in New York City: from 98% White in 1910 to 32% White in 2020

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It’s hard to believe that until 1980, New York City was overwhelmingly white — and it was traditionally conservative. Even during the Ellis Island period, it was a white city except for black Harlem. After the 1965 Immigration Act, the city turned multiracial and declined. Though it recovered in the 1990s and early 21st century, the white population is still declining, and the city is now a bastion of the far left.

New York started as New Amsterdam, a Dutch settlement seized by the English and renamed in 1664. The British controlled it for the entire period of the Revolutionary War; it was a loyalist stronghold. New York abstained in the critical independence vote on July 2, 1776. After the war, it was the headquarters for Andrew Hamilton and High Federalism. During the Civil War, many New Yorkers, especially working-class whites, sympathized with the Confederacy. Many blacks fled the city after the 1863 Draft Riots, and by 1865, there were fewer than 10,000 blacks left.

More than 12 million immigrants came through Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954. Almost all were white, though many were Italian, Eastern European, Jewish, or otherwise different from the Northern Europeans who founded the United States. This stopped after the 1924 Immigration Act, championed by Representative Albert Johnson. “It has become necessary that the United States cease to become an asylum,” he said. Today, the official House of Representatives website calls the bill a “legislative expression of the xenophobia, particularly towards eastern and southern European immigrants, that swept America in the decade of the 1920s.”

Of course, it wasn’t just migration from white nations that worried Americans. In 1910, central Harlem was about 10 percent black. By 1930, it was 70 percent black. By 1950, it was about 98 percent black, and Harlem was the center of American black cultural and intellectual life. It was also heavily leftist, with figures such as poet Langston Hughes and singer Paul Robeson supporting the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin. In 1964, the Harlem race riot, which began after an off-duty police officer shot a black teenager, was the first major race riot of the decade. 

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