Fair Housing Act (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: Legislation that prohibits discrimination in housing helps to break racial enclaves in residential neighborhoods, promoting upward mobility for minorities.
Summary of Event
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 provided that all citizens should have the same rights “to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property,” but the law was never enforced. Instead, such federal agencies as the Farmers Home Administration, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Veterans Administration financially supported segregated housing until 1962, when President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 11063 to stop the practice.
California passed a general nondiscrimination law in 1959 and an explicit fair housing law in 1963. In 1964, voters enacted Proposition 14, an initiative to repeal the 1963 statute and the applicability of the 1959 law to housing. When a landlord in Santa Ana refused to rent to an African American in 1963, the latter sued, thus challenging Proposition 14. The California Supreme Court, which heard the case in 1966, ruled that Proposition 14 was contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, because it was not neutral on the matter of housing discrimination; instead, based on the context in which it was adopted, Proposition 14 served to legitimate and promote discrimination. On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court let the California Supreme Court...
(The entire section is 1405 words.)
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