The federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 was passed in a time of turmoil, conflict, and often conflagration in cities across the nation. It took the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to finally secure its passage. The Kerner Commission warned in 1968 that "to continue present policies is to make permanent the division of our country into two societies; one largely Negro and poor, located in the central cities; the other, predominantly white and affluent, located in the suburbs and outlying areas". The Fair Housing Act was passed with a dual mandate: to end discrimination and to dismantle the segregated living patterns that characterized most cities. The Fight for Fair Housing tells us what happened, why, and what remains to be done.
Since the passage of the Fair Housing Act, the many forms of housing discrimination and segregation, and associated consequences, have been documented. At the same time, significant progress has been made in counteracting discrimination and promoting integration. Few suburbs today are all white; many people of color are moving to the suburbs; and some white families are moving back to the city. Unfortunately, discrimination and segregation persist. The Fight for Fair Housing brings together the nation’s leading fair housing activists and scholars (many of whom are in both camps) to tell the stories that led to the passage of the Fair Housing Act, its consequences, and the implications of the act going forward. Including an afterword by Walter Mondale, this book is intended for everyone concerned with the future of our cities and equal access for all persons to housing and related opportunities.
"The Fight for Fair Housing documents the absolute necessity of fair housing enforcement and chronicles the history of the quest for fairness in the places where Americans live."
Henry Cisneros, Chairman of CityView and former Secretary of HUD
"The Fight for Fair Housing provides the definitive account of the nation’s struggle to realize the goals of the Fair Housing Act, and it does so through the eyes of the scholars who have chronicled the story and the activists who continue the battle for what is right, good and fair."
Sheryll Cashin, author of Loving: Interracial Intimacy in America and the Threat to White Supremacy
"The Fair Housing Act has been critically important for families, communities, and all segments of the housing industry. The Fight for Fair Housing educates us about the continued need to dismantle barriers, ultimately moving us closer to being a nation where fair housing and equal opportunity are the norm in all communities."
Steve Rasmussen, CEO Nationwide
"Fifty years have passed since the signing of the Fair Housing Act, the most important housing reform that the civil rights era produced. The expert contributors to The Fight for Fair Housing reexamine the law’s purpose, impact and legacy. But from the old days of racially restrictive housing covenants and overt redlining to today’s new challenges of gentrification and dislocation, the message is clear: The battle to protect equal housing rights does not end. It only changes form."
Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist, Chicago Tribune's Washington Bureau
The Legacy of a Movement – Wade Henderson
Ending Segregation: The Fair Housing Act’s Unfinished Business – Walter F. Mondale