In honor of MLK Day, a post on fair housing. The 1968 Civil Rights act (more commonly known as the Fair Housing Act) prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, sex. This Act sought to reverse decades of institutionalized discrimination across the housing sector — from federal policies on mortgages leading to redlining, to municipalities known as “sundown towns” that barred minorities from even staying within city limits after dark, etc etc. The Fair Housing Act was passed in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination as a final tribute to his legacy.
Fair housing was not achieved by the stroke of Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential pen and indeed, the after effects of unequal mortgage lending as well as ongoing active discrimination continue today. HUD released a 2000 study on housing discrimination that concluded (emphasis added):
While generally down since 1989, housing discrimination still exists at unacceptable levels. The greatest share of discrimination for Hispanic and African American home seekers can still be attributed to being told units are unavailable when they are available to non-Hispanic whites and being shown and told about less units than a comparable non-minority.
Image 1 (via)
On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. His killing sparked a fresh round of riots in cities nationwide. Nearly two dozen representatives immediately changed positions and urged passage of the Fair Housing Act. Within a week, with armed National Guardsmen still quartered in the basement of the Capitol to protect it from surrounding violence, the House passed the Act and President Johnson signed it into law. The legislators who voted for the Act sought to combat the “practical effect” of facially neutral policies (not just overt discrimination) that resulted in residential segregation in American cities.
Image 2 (via ”How the Supreme Court Could Scuttle Key Fair Housing Rule”) Protest in New Orleans. ”After Hurricane Katrina, a private fair housing group and the federal government used the disparate impact standard to challenge policies in the predominantly white St. Bernard’s Parish, La., that prohibited residents from renting to anyone who was not a “blood relative.”
[In 1966], the San Marino Board of Realtors published ads alerting local homeowners that “a drastic Federal forced housing law now being considered by the Congress would destroy your basic rights—unless you act now!” The federal legislation in question would eventually become the Fair Housing Act. “Exercising preference,” the ad warned, could result in “payment of unlimited damages.”
Image 4 (via) “Aide To Michigan Governor Can’t Find Home in Lansing Michigan Due to Housing Discrimination” - Jet Magazine, January 15, 1959
Image 5 (via) 1963 protest: “Members and supporters of the NAACP picket outside of the Open Occupancy Hearing at Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan.”
Image 6 (via) 1964 fair housing protest in Seattle
Image 7 (via) Sundown Town Highland Park.
And finally, I found a short clip illustrating housing discrimination in the 1950s (Anyone know where this is from?). The film implies that it is individual choice/racism that is motivating housing discrimination, as it doesn’t touch on regulations governing mortgage lending that institutionalized racism.
Geminid Meteor Shower
The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks next week. Sadly, the Moon will be near-full brightening the sky for most of the night causing rates to be lower. However, the Geminids will still put on a good show pretty much anywhere that isn’t overcast, so don’t worry. Southern Hemisphere viewers will see lower rates, with the peak being ~40-60 meteors/hour in some locations, so you won’t be missing out as was the case for the Persieds earlier this year. Use the Fluxtimator to estimate the rate in your location.
Meteors will be visible when the radiant point is above the horizon from your location. The radiant point is in the constellation Gemini (Jupiter will be too, so get your binocs/telescopes), right next to the Orion constellation. You can spot meteors anywhere in the sky and it is not necessary to look towards the radiant point as some may believe. So go out, find somewhere dark, look up and enjoy the show.
Bummed we won’t be upstate for this one!
Already saw a couple by accident last Friday!
Governor in the studio recording a radio spot about tax-exempt state bonds that will be available to individual investors on Nov. 1 and 4.
The bonds offer an opportunity for residents to invest in Hawaii’s future by improving public facilities and infrastructure.