Suburbicon, a Hollywood film starring Matt Damon and directed by George Clooney, was partly inspired by real life events of the late ’50’s. William and Daisy Myers, a Black couple, moved to the all-white town of Levittown, Pennsylvania in August 1957 and endured months of harassment and racism before the state moved in to protect them.
William, an electrical engineer, and Daisy, an educator, met at Hampton Institute (now University) and decided to move to Levittown, which was billed as a perfect self-contained suburban haven. According to an interview with Clooney, developer William Levitt was a bigot who wouldn’t rent to the Myers. Instead of obeying the law, he sold off the property. A Jewish couple sold their home to the Myers and pandemonium ensued immediately.
The attacks against the Myers became increasingly violent, with cross burning and damage to the home and property by residents who wanted them to move. Surprisingly, it was the Myers’ white neighbors who had to intervene after state and local authorities and their efforts didn’t stop the harassment. Eventually, the mobs died down after they realized the Myers were not going to move.
The Myers remained in the home for four years before William Myers took a job in Harrisburg. According to their daughter, Lynda Myers, the couple refused to focus on the negative aspects of their time in Levittown and instead praised those who helped them. Dubbed the “Rosa Parks of the North,” Daisy Myers penned an autobiography Sticks’N Stones: The Myers Family In Levittown in 2005.
Long after her husband passed, Mrs. Myers was invited by to Levittown for a public apology and planted a tree in front of the town’s city hall affectionately named “Miss Daisy.”
Daisy Myers passed in 2011.
PHOTO: William and Daisy Myers/Fair Use
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