Congress banned discrimination in employment in 1964, and in voting in 1965. But when it came to housing, there was resistance, even though government policies helped create segregated neighborhoods in the first place.
But a tragic event in April 1968 created a new urgency to act. Seven days after King’s assassination, The Fair Housing Act was signed into law. It banned deliberate housing discrimination and obligated the government to reduce the segregation that had isolated blacks, often in vast urban housing projects.
However, decades after the Fair Housing Act was passed, many cities still remain starkly divided by race.
During the Obama administration, communities receiving federal housing funds were ordered to draft desegregation plans or risk the loss of billions of dollars. But President Trump’s Housing Secretary Ben Carson has suspended those rules until at least 2024.
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An eviction moratorium has slowed filings in cities like Richmond, but it hasn’t stopped them, and Black tenants are at highest risk.
Race-based federal lending rules from New Deal programs in the 1930s kept Black families locked out of suburban neighborhoods, a policy that continues to slow their economic mobility.
Since the summer of 2020, we’ve documented the impact of the pandemic on housing and evictions. We followed tenants, landlords, lawyers, judges, sheriffs and social workers across the U.S. who were affected. Facing Eviction airs on PBS Frontline on July 26 at 10/9c.
An idea from a tenant rebellion in the 70s could help renters facing eviction.