York Town Square

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Part III: Scholarly York County history journal feeds your sense of discovery

A York Charrette button is prominently displayed in the center sheet of this three-panel portable mural: ‘Civil Rights Heroes – Barrier Breakers.’ Bret Greiman, instructor at the Art Institute of York, created the mural in 2005 to depict men and women of York County who have served the cause of peace and social justice. Raul Urrunaga wrote about the 1970 York Charrette in the York County Heritage Trust’s 2012 “Journal of York County Heritage.” The back cover of the scholarly journal is seen here. Also of interest: Part I: Scholarly journal feeds your sense of history and  Part II: Scholarly journal.

The York Charrette was controversial in its day, and some people still question its accomplishments.

Sonny Urrunaga, drawing on his master’s work at Millersville University, provided the first scholarly look at the multi-day community event and showed its valuable legacy.

Here’s a summary of his piece in the recently published “Journal of York County Heritage.” …

Title: “The York Charrette, April 19-27, 1970”

Author: Raul Urrunaga

About: After two summers of race riots in 1968-69, the first spring of the new decade got off to a disappointing start with racial violence at Penn Park. This prompted the closing of William Penn Senior High School. Soon thereafter, the York Charrette convened for a multi-day event at the Bond Sanitary Product building that, according to the author, “did much to begin the healing of a divided city.” York was free of major civil disturbances in the summer of 1970.

Quotable: “York showed the willingness to engage in ‘civic therapy’ to put an end to two summers of race riots and collectively move toward solutions to underlying social problems in the late’60s and early’70s.”

Interesting point: The Housing Council, the York Housing Development Corporation and the York Health Corporation, addressing inequities in housing and health care, were direct offshoots of the Charrette.

Also of interest

York County, Pa.’s, ‘Civil Rights Heroes – Barrier Breakers’ Mural
Images capture hope for racial harmony in York County.
York Charrette or charade?
York, Pa.: ‘It’s a midsize city with an interesting history’.


For details about the journal, contact Lila Fourhman-Shaull, lfourhman-shaull@yorkheritage.org.

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