Florence Hampton remembers life in York City in the 1950s and 1960s as almost a different place. In many ways, it was.
Her family lived in a five-bedroom row home in what was the Freys Avenue neighborhood. It’s since been torn down; York County Housing Authority’s high-rise apartment now stand in its place – its towers unmissable to cars driving down East King Street.
Back then, it was a safe neighborhood, Florence says, where nobody locked their doors and every child was a child raised by the community.
“There wasn’t anybody who ever went hungry on Freys Avenue,” she says with a laugh. “You’d call your child to eat, and when you got to the table, you had your child and somebody else’s.”
Florence remembers the 1969 race riots. She can still picture the tank parked in the alleyway on the side of her mother’s home.
“They would park it there during the day, and at night, that tank would ride up and down Princess Street where they thought the shooting might be,” Florence says. “We could walk to my mother’s, but if we stayed and it got dark, you had to get a cab home.”