I’m sorry about the lack of posts recently. Being the weeks before spring break, it has been a busy time. Plus I got sick with a cold I just could not shake for about two weeks; It really threw off my routine. Today my class and I went to Brooklyn Heights, where we had arranged for an Arthur Miller scholar to talk about the cultural significance of the neighborhood. Walt Whitman, Truman Capote, Hart Crane, and Miller himself are just a very few of the writers who lived in the area at one time or another. Incredibly the Heights as we know it would have been destroyed had Robert Moses gotten his highway where he wanted it. Personally I think Moses gets a bad rap, but in this case it’s tough to argue that his was the right position.
Arthur Miller lived in several houses in Brooklyn Heights, first as a renter and then as a homeowner when his plays began hitting it big on Broadway and the money started coming in. The house above is one that he owned until he sold it and bought a place a few blocks away. According to the story we heard today, he wanted a new place because his ground floor tenants were too demanding. The new house, which we also saw, was smaller but came with no renters to bother him. I’m sure he had way more money by then as well. Incredibly Arthur Miller sold the house you see above to none other than W.E.B. Dubois. Yes, that W.E.B. DuBois. The two knew each other from their mutual involvement in Civil Rights and other causes. That was the craziest story I have heard so far this week.
We always tell our students: history is all around you if you open your eyes to it.