Black family to leave its home after antiblack protest
Philadelphia — A black man whose family was the target of protests by white neighbors here says he is leaving his new house. Charles Williams, who has moved his wife and seven-year-old daughter to a relative's house, sat in his row house last Wednesday and watched 400 whites outside shout, ``We want them out,'' and, ``Beat it.''
The next night, 300 demonstrators targeted the home of Carol and Gerald Fox, an interracial couple with two children, who also live in the predominantly white southwest Philadelphia neighborhood, called Elmwood. The Foxes say they will not move.
Mr. Williams's decision to leave -- called by one black official ``a giant step for racism'' -- came despite the promises of protection and support from black and community leaders. Williams says that even if the furor died, ``we'd still be watching our backs every day.''
US attorney Edward Dennis Jr. says he has asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division to determine if protesters violated the 1964 Fair Housing Act, which prohibits efforts to deny people the housing of their choice.
Williams's neighborhood has been fairly calm since Mayor W. Wilson Goode on Friday banned gatherings of more than four people except for religious or recreational purposes. Despite the ban, members of the International Committee Against Racism went door to door near the mostly white neighborhood passing out leaflets announcing a protest scheduled for Saturday.