The fierce urgency of fair and affordable homes, Derrick Johnson and Diane Yentel, Washington Examiner, April 11, 2018, available here
Fifty years ago today, Congress passed one of the crowning achievements of the civil rights era: the Fair Housing Act. As a civil rights organization with the mission to eliminate race-based discrimination, the NAACP was intimately involved in the passing of this legislation and worked to eradicate housing inequality.
Enacted just seven days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the Fair Housing Act outlawed racial discrimination in real estate and required that government “affirmatively further fair housing” by proactively integrating neighborhoods. This landmark achievement ushered in a much-needed federal effort to address the deeply entrenched residential segregation that, in large part, the federal government created and often sustains to this day.
In the years before his death, King was working towards affordable, safe homes in integrated communities. He urged us to “march on segregated housing until every ghetto of social and economic depression dissolves and Negroes and whites live side by side in decent, safe, and sanitary housing.” But by nearly every metric, America today remains a deeply segregated society with a growing shortage of affordable homes.