Date of Award


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© 2015 Roanne Neilson. All rights reserved. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Black Studies, Sociology & Anthropology, Political Science


The purpose of this study is to look at what impact shifting demographics in a suburb of New York City has on publicly funded institutions as waves of immigrant groups arrive and then establish themselves. The study answers the question: Does political participation and representation matter; does access to the polity transform subsequent newcomers to the suburbs equally? Is there a case for reparations? I examine the historical record and closely review both the literal and figurative paths that led to the success of some groups as well as the demise of others in two cities in Westchester County New Rochelle and later, Mt Vernon from first contact to the present. I demonstrate how civic machines evolved, how they were fueled enforced, and the impact that residential demographics have had on the distribution of public resources, from the early colonial period, through the wars, until today.