Fair Housing Act is 45 years old today. LBJ: “We have come some of the way, not near all of it. There is much yet to do.”

President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act...

President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The words in the headline are President Johnson’s on April 11, 1968 as he signed the Fair Housing Act. They remain true today, 45 years later, with regard to the state of fair housing in the United States.

President Lyndon Johnson made the following remarks as he signed the Fair Housing Act, less than one week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr….

From Wikipedia…

The Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, (Pub.L. 90–284, 82 Stat. 73, enacted April 11, 1968) was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that provided for equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed, or national origin. The Act was signed into law during the King assassination riots by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had previously signed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act into law.

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 is commonly known as the Fair Housing Act and was meant as a follow‑up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While the Civil Rights Act of 1866prohibited discrimination in housing, there were no federal enforcement provisions. The 1968 act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, and since 1974, gender; since 1988, the act protects people with disabilities and families with children.

The impetus for the law’s passage came from the 1966 Chicago Open Housing Movement, the April 4, 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil unrest across the country following King’s death. On April 5, Johnson wrote a letter to the United States House of Representatives urging passage of the Fair Housing Act. With newly urgent attention from legislative director Joseph Califano and Democratic Speaker of the House John McCormack, the bill (which was previously stalled) passed the House by a wide margin on April 10.

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