The Fair Housing Act: Then and Now
Last weekend, This American Life ran a fascinating episode on housing discrimination and the history of the Fair Housing Act.
The “Prologue” talks about the impact where children lives on their education. Here is a description:
Ira talks to 15 year old Jada who, when she was in third grade, moved from Akron Public Schools in Ohio, to the nearby Copley-Fairlawn schools in the suburbs. After two years, Jada was kicked out by administrators who discovered that her mother was using Jada’s grandfather’s address in Copley, instead of her own in Akron. Jada says that while the schools are only a few miles apart, the difference in education was astounding.
For more information about Jada and her mother, Kelley Williams Bolar, who spent 10 days in jail because she falsified documents so she could enroll Jada and her sister in the Copley-Fairlawn schools, you can go here. (5 minutes)
Both Acts One and Two discuss the history of the Fair Housing Act and housing discrimination in New York City today.
Act One, “Rental Gymnastics” is described as follows:
Reporter Nancy Updike talks to a group of New York City residents about their frustrating attempts to rent an apartment. With hidden microphones, we hear landlords and supers tell the apartment hunters that there’s nothing available. But that’s not necessarily true. Forty-five years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jonestalks to Nancy about the history of racial housing discrimination in the United States and what has been done — and hasn’t been done — to rectify it. (31 minutes)
Here is a description of Act II, “The Missionary“:
Once the Fair Housing Act became law in 1968, there was some question about how to implement it and enforce it. George Romney, the former Republican Governor of Michigan and newly-appointed Secretary of HUD, was a true believer in the need to make the Fair Housing Law a powerful one — a robust attempt to change the course of the nation’s racial segregation. Only problem was: President Richard Nixon didn’t necessarily see it that way. With Nikole Hannah-Jones, Nancy Updike continues the story. (16 minutes)
Nikole Hannah-Jones’s investigative series on the history and enforcement of the Fair Housing laws — with more stories, research and interviews —is here.