The Fair Housing Act is 50 years old this year. Former President Lyndon Johnson implemented this landmark piece of civil rights legislation days after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. King often said housing was a key victory in the struggle for African-American equity in the United States.
We spoke with Dan Immergluck, a professor in the Urban Studies Institute at Georgia State University. He discussed how legislation from 50 years ago shaped how housing in Georgia functions today.
The Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination based on gender, race and other identity categories. It was a challenging piece of legislation to pass. According to historian Michael Beschloss, aides told President Johnson to defer the vote until after his reelection. He famously replied, “What the hell is the presidency for if I can’t use it for civil rights?”
While the act addressed overt discrimination, Immergluck said practices like redlining and exclusionary zoning continue to segregate neighborhoods all over the country.
How have you seen housing change in your neighborhood in recent years? We would love to hear your thoughts.