Unfair housing is a barrier to home ownership. Without fair access and the opportunity to purchase a home on this free land, home ownership would likely feel to those who have been denied a nightmare, not an American dream. June is our annual reminder (not that we necessarily forgot) to stand up for home ownership for everyone.
Now, with federal acknowledgment, Juneteenth is a wonderful reminder of an exercise in American dream It’s home and land ownership that we as real estate professionals can be proud to honor as advocates of home ownership during what is also known as National Home Ownership Month.
It may be a coincidence that National Home Ownership Month and June are connected, but as real estate professionals we can deliberately commemorate and discuss both. Case in point, check out this warm a story Homeowners learn that their new home was actually where their ancestors were enslaved – what a homecoming!
as you may know, Juneteenth Commemorating June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved American residents (specifically in Texas) learned that slavery had become illegal. Formerly enslaved people got a legal opportunity for the first time to pursue the American dream of home and land ownership, the ultimate expression of American freedom.
What was happening at that time?
Savannah and Garrison Frazier of Georgia and other prominent black leaders (in talks with General Sherman in January 1865) asserted that the freedom of enslaved was not merely the abolition of barbaric forced labor, but also an opportunity to own land for “…labour,” according to the Ira Berlin.
In essence, land and home ownership worked hand in hand and were essential components of American freedom. As a result, enslaved people were denied ownership of land and homes despite the plethora of land grants the government made to American citizens, such as this example. 160 acres It is given to many at relatively no cost.
In other words, ironically, this was a period when the government was begging citizens to take care of the land in exchange for property rights.
So moving were the sentiments of the Savannah leaders that General Sherman issued Special Field Order 15, and by June 1865, 40,000 formerly enslaved men had settled on a 40-acre plot in the Southeast—land that had been abandoned and burned during the war—and had been given Old Civil War mules.
Thus, Juneteenth was also a moment in history when the former enslaved people of Georgia and South Carolina tasted the freedom of land ownership in their own way.”40 acres and a mule. ”
serious talk: It was truly a dream moment that began to come true even though the 40 acres of unintended land was a quarter of previous US land grants, which were already the norm for our government to give to US citizens. Hence, this wasn’t a special treatment, but it was the start of something designed to look like fair treatment.
All is well that ends well, right?
The main signs of unfair housing began after the victories of Juneteenth
Notoriously, by the end of that year, President Johnson had forcibly removed and redistributed those 40 acres of land, expelling 40,000 Dreamers. And so, within weeks of Juneteenth, the American dream of land and homeownership was postponed for a large portion of the American-born and raised population—formerly enslaved.
“What happens to a dream deferred?
Do they dry like raisins in the sun?
Or fester like ulcers – then run?
Is it stinky like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar – like candy syrup?
Perhaps he was drooping just like a heavy load.
Or does it explode? “ – Harlem, Langston Hughes, 1901-1967
Despite President Johnson’s efforts to veto the civil rights, including fair housing, of formerly enslaved people, you might remember from pre-licensing cycles that there was in fact the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1866 which, among other things, Racial discrimination in real estate is prohibited.
Thus, with the abolition of slavery and the proclamation of American citizenship with the Thirteenth Amendment (1865), came the initial opportunity for some formerly enslaved to participate in various give land And other real estate deals as American citizens – absolute freedom. The dream-making years became known as the Reconstruction Period.
However, “black codes” that ignored the Civil Rights Act of 1866 began to emerge, eventually leading to “Jim Crow” edicts that included the restriction and, in some cases, the direct forcible removal of Black and other people of color from home and land ownership . Historians have called this era “Nadir” (which partially coincided with the Gilded Age).
As a result, unfair housing, although legal in some cases, has swelled to include:
- Japanese internment camps, often predicted by forced displacement with low/no compensation for homes
- Threats of violence (and actual), such as “sunset cities“The destruction of legally built communities during reconstruction is like Rosewood“Black Wall StreetAnd the” oscarville and so on
- professional exclusion
- Forced displacement with reduced/no compensation for highways, parks and other “urban renewal” projects such as this is
- Denial of promised benefits, services, and funding, including disparate implementation/administration of the American Soldiers Act, is an example of how unfair blacks and other people of color have been Depriving him of the benefits of the promised home ownership Despite their participation and service in the war effort
- the bomb
- Distinguishing between CC and Rs
- Lending/Evaluation Bias
- high risk loans
How can unfair housing now that we have fair housing laws?
As I often say, laws don’t magically stop abuse. As we saw after the Civil Rights Act of 1866, unfair housing and other real estate practices did not magically stop despite legislation. Likewise, today, HUD recognizes that housing is unfair It still influences the American dream of home and land ownership, despite 50 years of explicit fair housing legislation in the modern era.
We need laws, but they cannot create a moment of “eternal happiness”. Laws is not equivalent to the spell of a magic wand, bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, which creates a great ending, requiring no work, to a horrific story. In fact, there are what I call “fake threats to fair housing” (to any Star Wars fan) today because abuses can happen, and they still happen.
“Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you win it and win it in every generation.” Coretta Scott King
To be clear, the laws simply mean that if a violation occurs and there is evidence, there is potential for a response. Although laws may not stop abuse, we – advocates of fair housing – can.
To explore the words of Langston Hughes shared above, Lauren Hansbury wrote the award-winning playwright “raisins in the sun“ where is she He displayed (among many other topics) the personal impact of unfair housing attempts to postpone the American dream of homeownership.
It is touching that almost 100 years have passed since 1865. It is also worth noting that the play is set in a northern city despite some misconceptions at the time that unfair housing was relegated primarily to American South.
If you haven’t read or seen this touching play, or if it’s been a while, I encourage you to do so Stream “A Raisin in the Sun” With your team or office as one of the many ways to celebrate both Juneteenth and National Fair Housing Month.
Some discussion questions – based on the 1961 movie with featured performances by Sidney Poitier, Robbie Dee, and Louis Gosset Jr. – to chat about include:
- How did the mother, Mrs. Lena Young, describe Ruth’s new home? What parts of the new home have you emphasized? How do her emotions and feelings (eg, “finding the best place for the lowest amount of money,” asking Walter’s approval that it was the right decision, etc.) relate to homebuyers today?
- What signs of unfair housing (see list above) does this play/film depict? What laws were actually enacted that provided fair housing by 1959? What real-world organizations have violated fair housing by paying (or trying to pay) people of color for not moving to a particular neighborhood? (Research time: There are many but please name at least one; bonus points for identifying organizations that still exist today.)
- With fair housing laws in place, what is the significance of ‘selling out’? What is the significance of Walter Travis being mentioned as the sixth generation of Americans and deciding to move home despite unfair housing practices?
- This play is set in the year 1959. What were the experiences of home ownership for you or your family members at the time? What are their other life experiences? Feel free to ask relatives if necessary.
- How have your home (or family) and other life experiences changed since then? How is your home (or family) and other life experiences similar to that period?
- Imagine living an unfair housing experience without any legal compensation to protect you. How would your life be different?
- What are your points from the play/movie regarding fair housing and the American dream of home ownership?
- What can we do to advocate for fair housing today? Check out the Fair Housing DECODER infographic from the 3-hour CE class I teach by the same name for some simple, but very poignant opening questions that every fair housing advocate should know and ask.
Finally, with Father’s Day approaching, check out my dad’s childhood experiences during that time in the video above.
Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker, coach, and coach. Follow her on YouTube, or visit her website.