This Day in History

April 11, 1968: Fair Housing Act Signed Into Law

Time Periods: People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Organizing

On April 11, 1968, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, known as the 1968 Fair Housing Act, was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson after it passed through Congress the day prior.

This Act was the result of years of grassroots organizing and protest across the United States. People demanded just treatment by landlords and equal access to housing in all parts of the country, not just in the “Jim Crow” segregated South.

The story of the fight for fair housing in Seattle (as shown in photo below) is one of many examples to share with students to counter the myth of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement being limited to the South.

CORE protest.

CORE-sponsored demonstration at realtor office of Picture Floor Plans, Inc. Source: Seattle Municipal Archives Digital Collections.

The Zinn Education Project offers a mixer role play based on Richard Rothstein’s The Color of Law, which shows in exacting detail how government policies segregated every major city in the United States with dire consequences for African Americans. The lesson, by school teacher Ursula Wolfe-Rocca, is called “How Red Lines Built White Wealth: A Lesson on Housing Segregation in the 20th Century.”

Read more about the fight for fair housing in Seattle on the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project website. Introduce the history of housing segregation to students through the 17-minute animation based on the book The Color of Law, Segregated by Design.

Segregated By Design from Silkworm on Vimeo.

As Ursula Wolfe-Rocca outlines in the tweet thread below, the discrimination continues. Click tweet to read full thread.