Open Housing

August 16, 1967

Report Outline
New and Old Approaches to Housing Bias
Racial Segregation in American Cities
Resistance to Open Housing Enforcement

New and Old Approaches to Housing Bias

Rioting in Detroit, Newark and more than two score other cities so far this summer has directed attention more sharply than ever to the continued existence and the demanding problems of urban Negro ghettos. Negroes in the cities are concentrated in segregated neighborhoods because, among other things, it has been almost impossible for them to find housing elsewhere. Racial discrimination helped to create the Negro ghetto and its attendant problems, and it has played a large part in preventing dispersal of the ghetto dwellers. Proponents of “open housing” laws believe they have found one way to relieve—though not eliminate—some of the feelings of hopelessness and being trapped that are at the root of Negro discontent.

Open Housing Laws and the Negro Ghettos

Twenty-one states and numerous cities have laid the basis for an attack on housing discrimination by enacting open housing legislation proscribing discrimination in the sale or rental of housing on the basis of race, color, creed or national origin. A major effort was made in 1966 to put through federal legislation of this kind, but it failed in the U. S. Senate. This year the emphasis has been at state and local levels. However, the Defense Department has launched a nationwide drive to do away with discrimination against Negro servicemen seeking housing in the vicinity of military bases.

There has been active agitation for additional open housing legislation in such disparate places as Nebraska, where in June the state's unicameral legislature rejected such a bill by a vote of 28 to 21, and the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., where open housing ordinances are being adopted. Some question has been raised as to whether legal prohibitions on housing discrimination serve much practical purpose. It has even been argued that the push for open housing laws, by shifting attention away from provision of a more plentiful supply of low-income housing has hurt rather than helped ghetto residents.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Segregation and Desegregation
Apr. 23, 2004  School Desegregation
Oct. 18, 1996  Rethinking School Integration
Feb. 24, 1995  Housing Discrimination
Dec. 26, 1975  Busing Reappraisal
May 03, 1974  Desegregation After 20 Years
Aug. 24, 1973  Educational Equality
Sep. 06, 1972  Blacks on Campus
Mar. 01, 1972  School Busing and Politics
Aug. 16, 1967  Open Housing
Apr. 29, 1964  School Desegregation: 1954–1964
Feb. 06, 1963  Interracial Housing
Aug. 27, 1958  School Integration: Fifth Year
Jan. 15, 1958  Residential Desegregation
Oct. 16, 1957  Legal Processes in Race Relations
Oct. 17, 1956  Enforcement of School Integration
Jan. 12, 1955  School Desegregation
Sep. 03, 1954  Segregation in Churches
Oct. 08, 1952  Race Segregation
Nov. 07, 1947  Negro Segregation
Civil Rights: African Americans
Fair Housing and Housing for Special Groups
Segregation and Desegregation