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Berkley Street, Camden, New Jersey, in the 1930s

Below Right: Nunziata DiRenzo (1897-1983) at 4th and Berkley Streets, Camden, New Jersey, in the 1930s.

Below Left: Berkley Street in the 1930s. The house nearest the viewer's right is 337 Berkley Street where Giovanni Valente (1887-1969) and Nunziata DiRenzo lived until 1940, and where seven of their eleven children were born. These houses no longer exist.

Berkley Street, Camden, New Jersey, in the 1930s, 13 KB Nunziata DiRenzo on Berkley Street, Camden, in the 1930s, 6 KB

Next door (to the left, because on the right there was an alley way) lived a black American family named Davis, and they had a daughter named Alice and two sons, one whose name was Alfonso; he worked for the post office (The other brother lived in New York).

When Vittoria Valente was ill (She had diphtheria four times when she was a child), Alice and Alfonso brought her a bag of candy. But they did not go into the house; they just went to the front door. Alice graduated high school, when few children of any race did, but despite that she could only get a job as a cleaning woman. Racist remarks were never made in the Valente house, by her parents or anyone, Vittoria said. But in those days, although the high school was not segregated, the Valente children went to an elementary school across the street from their house, whereas black children had to go to an elementary school ten blocks away. Black and white people went to the same cinema, but blacks had to sit in a separate section. That was how things were.

On the right side of the Valente house was an alley way, and then, facing on 4th Street, just around the corner, in the corner house lived the Salerno family.

On Berkley Street the Valente family had a photograph of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the wall of their living room. "Everyone did."

Related pages:

• A map of west Camden from 1935, showing Berkley Street (The house was on the north side of the street, between 3rd and 4th Streets) and Mickle Street. "When we moved from Berkley Street to Mickle Street we moved house with a pushcart; there wasn't very much furniture to move." That was on 31 October 1940, and "all the aunts can over to help make the beds. Grandpop said to Uncle Nick, "Now, you're the boss"," Vittoria said; she thought it was funny that her father would say that to her brother (It was Nicholas who bought the house on Mickle Street for the family to live in).

• A photograph of Vittoria and Angelina Valente at 337 Berkley Street, from circa 1929, when Angelina was about a year old. It was taken in the living room of the house, a room "as large as a ballroom" (in a row house).


The URL of this Web page: https://www.roangelo.net/valente/berklest.html
Last revised: 6 April 2012 : 2012-04-06 by Robert [Wesley] Angelo.

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