Fair Housing Act of 1968


“In commemorating the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Fair Housing Act this year, it may be useful to look more deeply into some of the details of American housing history from this period. Fifty years on, it is important for us to take stock of what worked and what didn’t. On April 11, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act. The law was a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and also updated the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which—unbeknownst to many—also prohibited discrimination in housing after the Civil War. Passage of this law should be seen in historical perspective. At the time that Johnson signed the bill, Martin Luther King Jr. had just been assassinated a week earlier and the so-called King Riots were still happening. Photos and video of rioting and of the Vietnam War had become fixtures on the nightly news. Much to Johnson’s chagrin, the Kerner Commission had also just released its findings and recommendations on Feb. 29, 1968. The country—and the world—were on fire. By 1968 it had become apparent, especially to King, Whitney Young, and other members of the ‘Big Six,’ that solving the problem of racism in northern cities was going to prove a significantly more daunting challenge that could not be confronted as effectively by nonviolent direct action as in the South. ‘I Have a Dream’ and Selma had been superseded. According to groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), it was now about Black Power. The idea of anti-discrimination legislation in housing was not new. It had been an objective of liberal African-American civil rights leaders since at least the 1930s. Robert Weaver, whom Johnson appointed as the first African-American cabinet secretary in 1965, had been fighting for fair housing since his days as a member of the short-lived United States Housing Authority (USHA) created by the 1937 Housing Act. By the late 1940s Weaver had become the nation’s foremost expert on housing discrimination with the publication of his 1948 classic The Negro Ghetto, which in its analysis and policy formations was something of an African-American liberal version of Gunnar Myrdal’s An American Dilemmawhich had been released four years prior. In a word: No. Not only does racial discrimination in housing still exist (click here for a recent example), class segregation has worsened. Scholars have offered numerous explanations. One major explanation for this unfortunate state of affairs is that the law has no teeth. …”
The Most Important Housing Law Passed in 1968 Wasn’t the Fair Housing Act
W – Housing segregation in the United States, W – Civil Rights Act of 1968
HUD proposal would gut purpose of Fair Housing Act and further destabilize local neighborhoods
YouTube: President Lyndon Johnson signs the Fair Housing Act of 1968


President Lyndon B. Johnson, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Cabinet Room, White House March 18, 1966.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Black Power, Civil Rights Mov., Lyn. Johnson, MLKJr., SCLC, SNCC and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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