On Oct. 8, 1927, a group of progressive city and town planners gathered at a farm in Netcong to discuss a preliminary scheme for a radical new community — so new it did not yet have a name.

That community would be announced publicly three months later as Radburn, in the still-rural borough of Fair Lawn. Radburn was not intended to be just another elite suburb. It would have housing for various ages and incomes, and jobs for various skills.

Which is why one item on the Netcong conference agenda has particular resonance today: “What should be the policy in relation to the admission of Negroes and other people of races other than white?’’

It may have been the first time in Radburn’s history the issue was debated, but not the last. Residents have long discussed whether their community excluded non-whites and non-Christians, and if so, how.

A sign at