Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Fair Housing: A Lesson in History

Sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for fair housing across the nation and for which the Fair Housing Act is seen as a fitting testament for his legacy


Keller Williams Arizona Realty recognizes the importance of fair housing for all. April is Fair Housing Month. Agents and their clients should understand the reason for this designation. We are proud to highlight the history of fair housing legislation in honor of those who fought to make this a reality across the nation.


Housing Before the Fair Housing Act


Many citizens faced limited housing choices and opportunities before the Fair Housing Act came into existence. Racial differences often were the defining factor in opportunity. Black Americans were subject to many of the following:

  • Low-interest loan denials
  • Redlining preventing homeowners from obtaining loans
  • Restrictive covenants to prevent sales to certain buyers
  • Zoning laws that favored racial segregation


What is Redlining?


Redlining is a discriminatory practice. This practice, historically done by drawing red lines on a map, would signify those areas where lenders and other service providers would not invest. These decisions were made solely on the demographics of the area. As a result, Black Americans could not obtain loans and other services.


Redlining did not only reduce the wealth of Black Americans by denying them the opportunity to own homes. This practice also impacted the people’s lives. Their health was marred by living in substandard housing and neighborhoods. Their longevity was reduced, with life expectancies lower by a number of years. In fact, these trends continue today, with many Black Americans suffering from reduced life expectancy. Issues that may contribute to reduced life expectancy in Black neighborhoods include:

  • Displacement following disasters
  • Excessive pollution exposure
  • Exposure to hazardous waste
  • Zoning practices that exclude many Black Americans


Zoning Practices that Prevent Fair Housing


What are the current zoning practices that might prevent fair housing? Some point to zoning laws that perpetuate single-family housing. These laws result in neighborhoods that prohibit or severely limit affordable housing. As a result, multi-use buildings with a variety of units that cater to a mixed-income population do not fit under single-family zoning laws. 


Many single-family neighborhoods have become successful, with companies moving in or nearby to provide local jobs, and growing retail and service trades. However, the zoning practices often prevent low and moderate income residents from moving to these successful neighborhoods.


What is the History of the Fair Housing Act?


The Fair Housing Act is formally known as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act. This Act prohibited all discrimination regarding the financing, sale, or rental of housing based on the following factors:

  • National Origin
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex


April 4, 1968 was the date for the United States Senate to vote on the Act. However, on that same day, the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.


President Lyndon B. Johnson set a national day of mourning for April 7. King had participated in several marches in the city of Chicago calling for open housing since the summer of 1966. As a result, he was highly connected to the fight for fair housing. Therefore, President Johnson promoted the Fair Housing Act as a wonderful testament to Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy. The President pushed to have the bill passed prior to King’s upcoming April 9 funeral in Atlanta, Georgia.


The United States House passed the Fair Housing Act on April 10. President Johnson signed the Act into law on the following day, April 11.


Learn More About Keller Williams Arizona Realty


Our agents and clients know Keller Williams Arizona Realty as the best Scottsdale real estate brokerage, and for good reason. KWAZ supports and promotes the Keller Williams culture, and it is that culture that drives each agent and team member to focus on the KW Mission, Vision, and Values. It is what we call the KW Difference. No other brokerage that can compare to KW’s amazing value propositions for its agents. WI4C2TES stands for the beliefs in our culture. The “E” stands for Equity: Opportunities for all.


Contact us today to learn how we provide opportunities for all. Our recruiting team and coaching experts will be glad to show you the KW Difference at Keller Williams Arizona Realty. We believe you will find KWAZ to be the best Scottsdale real estate brokerage to work for.


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