‘Show Me A Hero’: HBO Movie Dramatizes 1980s Yonkers, New York, Housing Project Desegregation Battle, Based On A True Story

Show Me a Hero is a 2015 movie mini-series by HBO, which chronicles the 1980’s Yonkers, New York, housing project-desegregation battle. The story is created by David Simon (The Wire) and director Paul Haggis (Crash), according to NPR.

The movie is based on the book by Lisa Belkin. The true story is one that is long and complicated, and it seems that producers did their best to fit every detail into the movie. To get the whole story, you’ll have to tune into HBO for the next three Sundays for two hours each. The production was shot at many locations in Yonkers in order to maintain authenticity. According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), it is produced by Home Box Office and Pretty Pictures.

Set in Yonkers, New York, in the late 1980s, we’re introduced to Nick Wasicsko, a tenacious young man who aspires to be mayor of Yonkers. But, when he is elected into office in 1987, he steps right into a heated desegregation battle between white, more affluent residents and poor black residents who want the right to live in better areas. The movie seems to capture the essence of the anger and hatred that resided among affluent residents at the time and their disdain for anything or anyone living in the western areas coming to live anywhere near them.

The true story was just as brutal. Anger poured out all over Yonkers due to a lawsuit and court order to build new housing projects smack dab in the middle of suburban Yonkers, causing the town’s white residents to rise up and fight to keep black and Hispanic housing project tenants out. At the heart of the lawsuit was the major complaint that out of the vast area covering Yonkers, blacks were squeezed into a tiny space that included several high-rise projects. It is well documented that even affluent blacks were steered by real estate agents away from the better parts of town, a tactic that is now illegal.

Proponents believed that taking black residents out of poor areas and placing them in better neighborhoods would stimulate a desire to be more successful, it would give residents a shot at living in decent areas, and it would give the children of these parents an opportunity to attend schools that would provide them with a better education—without the element of violence that plagued the government housing project environment.

Many Yonkers residents didn’t mind that poor youths were busted into their school system, but they didn’t want the government forcing them to live among people that they considered to be “animals.”

Show Me a Hero airs tonight at 8 p.m. The cast includes Oscar Isaac, Carla Quevedo, and Winona Ryder. The Inquisitr recently reported on two more HBO movies that premiered this year, Nightingale and Bessie.


What the Show Me a Hero trailer below.


[Photo Credit: HBO]

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