Lincoln Homes

The Lincoln Homes were one of two housing projects built by the United States Housing Authority (USHA) in Trenton in 1939.  Lincoln Homes was built for African-American residents, while Donnelly Homes was constructed for white residents.  In both cases, existing slums were razed and replaced with new buildings in park-like settings.  The Trenton Housing Authority solicited the aid of attorney Robert Queen and Louise Hayling, both residents of Spring Street, to assist the 30 families living in the existing tenements to find new homes.  The construction of separate complexes for different races was common for housing projects of the era, both because of the social attitudes of the period and the segregated character of the neighborhoods in which they were built.  The Lincoln Homes were completed in 1940 and two years later had 425 occupants.  A sense of community developed at the Lincoln Homes that continues to the present, as former residents gather occasionally for reunions.  The Lincoln Homes are also notable as the residence of Helen Jackson Lee, a college-educated African-American woman who wrote of her experiences with racial discrimination in Trenton during the 1940s and 1950s in her memoir, Nigger in the Window (1978).  The complex was rehabilitated in 2003 by the Trenton Housing Authority.

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