black ghetto

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From the end of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth, Harlem emerged as a Black ghetto at the northern end of Manhattan island. From a previously affluent white community, it became, according to Gilbert Osofsky in Harlem: The Making of a Ghetto, the largest segregated neighborhood in America and the first of the large "cities within the city" that also began to develop in other areas, such as Philadelphia and Chicago. This period, characterized by historian Rayford Logan as "the nadir" of the Black freedom struggle, saw a virulently discriminatory, violent, and hateful response in the nation at large to the social and political progress that had been achieved by Blacks during the Reconstruction period. By the 1930s, Harlem had lost even its sheen as the teens and twenties beacon of Black cultural and political life and became a slum suffering from deep-seated social and economic problems. These were the conditions that still existed in the 1950s and '60s when Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam were offering the Nation's religious and economic approaches as solutions to these problems.