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Schwartz, Jon, 1948- | University of Houston Libraries

Name: Schwartz, Jon, 1948-


Historical Note:

This is Our Home, It Is Not for Sale is a documentary film produced by Jon Schwartz.

Schwartz’s film traces the history of Houston’s Riverside from land grant to inner city neighborhood.  Boundaries of Riverside are defined by the film as Alabama Street on the north, University of Houston on the east, Old Spanish Trail on the south, and Almeda Road on the west.  Schwartz tells the story of Riverside through interviews, photos, and home movies.  Informally known as the Jewish River Oaks, Riverside became an idyllic neighborhood close to downtown.  Riverside was an all-white neighborhood until 1952 when the first black family moved in; white flight followed. Real estate agents working house-to-house encouraged owners to sell, but many residents resisted the inclination to move and posted yard signs stating “This is Our Home, It’s Not for Sale.”  Transformation became inevitable for a constellation of reasons.  Intrusions into the neighborhood included Highway 288 and the Harris County Psychiatric Center.  By the conclusion of the time period covered in the film (mid-1980s), Riverside was a multi-ethnic neighborhood, combining characteristics of a peaceful wooded residential area with the conflicts of an integrated urban neighborhood.

Jon Schwartz grew up in a neighborhood contiguous to Riverside, and produced his three-hour documentary as something of a paean to the beauty and complexity of Riverside as it was and as it evolved.  Schwartz earned a degree in film and moved to the West Coast, but he found the inspiration for his film project in a 1983 photography exhibit at the Houston Public Library.  Schwartz’s research for the film included 300 preliminary interviews plus magazine articles and academic papers on Houston.  Schwartz was remarkably successful in raising funds to produce his film, engaging the interest not only of funding organizations but also former and current residents of Riverside.

Note Author: Teresa Tomkins-Walsh, Ph.D.




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