Chances Are: Lessons From The 1962 United States Civil Rights Commission Housing Discrimination Hearings In Washington D.C. For The Current Foreclosure Crisis

Gilmore, Brian

By examining a prior government hearing that investigated instances and patterns of housing discrimination in the U.S., a more accurate picture of the damage created by government policies that supported housing discrimination, racial segregation, and economic inequality can be presented. This Article focuses specifically upon the 1962 Housing Discrimination hearings convened in Washington D.C. by the United States Civil Rights Commission. The hearings focused upon housing discrimination and patterns of racial segregation in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan region produced as a direct result of government policies pursued and endorsed for over thirty years by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). In addition, this Article will not only expose the ineffectiveness of the 1962 hearings in addressing these very important socio-economic issues but also identify current racial discrimination and economic equality at the center of today’s damaging housing crisis. In sum, this Article argues for addressing past, present, and future racial discrimination patterns in housing with a much more aggressive and honest approach to a problem rooted in economic inequality and ineffective government policy. Even in the age of resistance to governmental solutions to economic inequality, the need for just such an approach is justified in this instance.

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Columbia Journal of Race and Law

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March 12, 2015