SUPPORT THE FAIR HOUSING JUSTICE CENTER AND OUR FIGHT AGAINST SEGREGATED HOUSING
The Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) is celebrating an important anniversary: 54 years ago, in 1968, the Fair Housing Act was signed into law. In the decade prior, progress on fair housing legislation had long stalled, with efforts largely ignored and passed over by politicians. Some cities and states picked up the cause, but in the 1950’s and 60’s, there was little appetite in Congress or the White House for addressing segregated housing. In the days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, President Lyndon Johnson and a few key Senators knew they had to do something to address the protests, riots, discontent, and fury erupting in cities across the country. Housing discrimination was a top priority. In just one week, the legislation was introduced, passed, and made law.
President Lyndon Johnson signing the Fair Housing Act in 1968
The Fair Housing Act provided the tools and legal avenues to fight housing segregation. But it didn’t provide the funding. In 1969, the Fair Housing Act’s first year, HUD requested 850 employees for investigation and enforcement. Congress provided funding for just 200 across the country. The way the law is written and funded means that the only way to fight back against housing segregation is through the work of nonprofit civil rights organizations like the Fair Housing Justice Center.
While often remembered for their focus on ending Jim Crow laws in the South, Dr. King and the broader Civil Rights Movement also situated the elimination of housing discrimination nationwide as a central demand. Throughout 1966, Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference demonstrated in Chicago to end racial segregation. All too often, demonstrators were met with violence. During a march in August that went through a white neighborhood, Dr. King, among many other marchers, was hit with a rock. After months of demonstrations, the city of Chicago made major concessions. But much of it was short lived. According to Dr. King himself, those in power quickly reneged on their promises.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speaking in Chicago, 1966
We know housing discrimination is widespread and pervasive. It can occur in different ways and at many different stages of a housing transaction. But proving housing discrimination in court takes significant time and resources. FHJC has a full-time staff working on this challenge, building cases against those who discriminate, supporting directly impacted individuals, and educating the public.
But we can only engage in this work with supporters like you. Please donate today to help us to continue pursuing our mission for open, inclusive, accessible communities for everyone.