I was searching the Philadelphia Inquire’s website for news of Lansdowne, and found an article from April 25, 2011, on shifting suburban populations, noting that Sharon Hill and East Lansdowne have joined Yeadon, Darby, Colwyn, and Chester as black-majority communities. But that is not the point here.
In the article, they said, “Jacquelynn Puriefoy-Brinkley, a former president of Yeadon Borough Council, is a retiree in her 70s. She recalled moving to Yeadon with her parents in 1947, along with other ‘mostly upper-middle-class’ black residents who lived in an enclave on one side of town.”
That must be the same Jackie Puriefoy from our class. Our LAHIAN yearbook says she transferred from Yeadon, but no year indicated. I did not know her, did not have a class with her, nor shared a class activity. Too bad for me. She seems to have done well over the years. Good for you, Jackie. In the photo of our class trip to Washington, DC, in the banner above, she is on the front row, 6th in from the right. (For the first time, I just realized the front row is all girls, the second row all boys, and the back row a mix of teachers, bus drivers, and boy-girl late-arrivals, with Paul Grexa on both ends. Jackie was the one mentioned in the 2/19/07 posting about our Korean guest who asked if the few blacks in our class were slaves.)
Puriefoy-Brinkley’s father owned several businesses and was a salesman for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Yeadon was about 10 percent black,” she said. Over time, a larger cross section of African Americans from the city moved in. Today Yeadon is 88 percent black. NAACP membership forms are available at the circulation desk of the public library. A shopping strip includes the Mohammad Ali Variety Store across the street from the Harlem Cafe. Going from virtually all white to virtually all black is certainly no triumph of coexistence, Puriefoy-Brinkley acknowledged, but she feels the pattern of movement has been basically positive. “Maybe the upside,” she said, “is that people who didn’t have opportunities to live in decent housing or walkable communities have those opportunities now.”