Martin Luther King Played A Massive Part In The Fair Housing Act

Martin Luther King Played A Massive Part In The Fair Housing Act

  • Aastha Uprety
  • 01/11/23

While most people are aware of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a Civil Rights Movement leader, fewer are familiar with the role he played in the fair housing movement. During the early 20th century, Black Americans were systematically deprived of sufficient, quality housing because they were routinely and openly excluded from living in certain areas. Discrimination, intimidation, exclusion and even violence segregated and relegated Black people to low-income areas with poor quality housing. In his role as a Civil Rights leader, Dr. King recognized that this reality was a core component of racial injustice in the United States, and decided to take action in response.

In August 1966, after approximately a year of campaigning and despite facing violence from white Chicagoans, the Chicago Freedom Movement achieved some important victories: The Chicago Housing Authority agreed to build public housing in white middle-class areas and the Mortgage Bankers Association promised to stop discriminatory lending policies. But the most significant and far-reaching outcome of this effort was the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968.

The Fair Housing Act was signed into law one week after Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Today, over 50 years since Dr. King’s assassination and the passage of the Fair Housing Act, there is still a lot left to achieve in the realm of fair housing. While we have made strides thanks to the efforts of civil rights activists, the need for such advocacy has far from disappeared. This Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we are inspired to continue the fight for equality and justice as exemplified by Dr. King, particularly in fair housing and through the use of tactics like civil rights testing.


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