The following is the text of a letter from the Reverend Constantine Dzink, pastor of the St. Louis the King church in Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s, to Mr. C. F. Palmer of the United States Housing Authority. The topic is the opening of the Sojourner Truth Housing Project.


The U.S.H.A. is considering the construction of a low-cost housing project in the vicinity of Fenelon and Nevada Streets for the colored people.

This, my dear Mr. Palmer, would mean utter ruin for many people who have mortgaged their homes to the F.H.A. and not only that, but it would jeopardize the safety of many of our white girls, as no colored people live closely by. Lastly, it would ruin the neighborhood, one that could be built up into a fine residential section.

It is the sentiment of all people residing within the vicinity to object against this project in order to stop race riots in the future. Can we then appeal to your sense of fair play, and with your final decision feel that you will prove a friend of ours, now that we are helpless and seek a friend to override this project:

May I feel that I have found a friend in your, Mr. Palmer, and that the many sleepless nights that I have spent in trying to ward off this future danger to my parish and citizens will not prove in vain, but your sound judgement in this matter will be a fond memory of calling to mind a true and honest friend.

With all confidence that you will decide in our favor against the project, I beg to remain,

Yours sincerely, Rev. C. Dzink, Pastor


Source: Herman H. Long and Charles S. Johnson, People vs. Property: Race Restrictive Covenants in Housing (Nashville: Fisk University Press, 1947), 53.


See the discussion in John T. McGreevy, Parish Boundaries: The Catholic Encounter With Race inthe Twentieth-Century Urban North (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), 73-76 of Dzink (whom McGreevy identifies as as "Djiuk"), of Polish Catholic attitudes towards African-Americans in Detroit in this period, and of the forces of change in the Catholic Church in Detroit and other Northern cities in this period.


This WWW page was created by Wendy Plotkin (wendy.plotkin@asu.edu) in 1998 and updated on 1 September 2003.