This is a 1987 documentary about white flight from a beautiful neighborhood near downtown Houston. It consists almost entirely of interviews with residents, either current or former, standing or sitting in front of their houses, and sometimes in front of the highway or vacant lot where the house used to be. The juxtaposition of different points of view is a lot of fun. The voice of the filmmaker is never heard, only the testimony of the residents.
It tells the entire history of Riverside Terrace and sheds a great light on its transition from an upper class, mostly Jewish neighborhood to an almost entirely African-American neighborhood.
The fact that Houston has no zoning is not mentioned in the film, but it certainly affected the history of the neighborhood. While the movie is about a specific neighborhood, it is representative of similar stories in many U.S. cities.
The story of the lunch counter sit-in by students pushing for integration, and the clever way the issue was side-stepped is precious and a bit of classic Houston lore.
It runs 190 minutes, which is mighty long, but not too long for me. (I currently live in Riverside Terrace, so I'm not a dis-interested observer.)
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