The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is tightly wound in with affordable housing. If it weren’t for the changes that MLK brought to our civil rights, we wouldn’t have our equal housing laws. Discrimination in housing would be far more rampant.
Many consider the Chicago Freedom Movement, also known as the Chicago Open Housing Movement, to be one of Dr. King’s greatest moments and this massive demonstration is often credited as the inspiration for the Fair Housing Act.
The Chicago Freedom Movement was an alliance of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, American Friends Service Committee, and the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations that aimed to abolish racial inequality and bring change and equality to key issues of living including housing, education, transportation, employment, and quality of life. The Chicago Freedom Movement lasted from 1965 to 1967. During the course of the movement, MLK placed a list of demands on the door of Chicago City Hall. That list included:
The results of the Chicago Freedom Movement and all of Dr. King’s work would go on to influence the creation of the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act provides equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed, national origin, religion, sex, disability, or marital status. This act has changed the lives and created opportunity for many people, especially non-white, non-male, and low-income people.
Dr. King stands out not only for his work to end racism and segregation but for his dream of improvement of life for all persons. It is because of his dream, vision, and love that we have a provision that ensures everyone man, woman, and child in the U.S. has a greater opportunity to live a healthy and safe life.