PRRAC is committed to promoting a deeper public understanding of our country’s history of racial oppression, and the ways in which that history is embedded in and perpetuated by current institutions and practices. At the same time, an appreciation of the history of the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-twentieth century can be an inspiration to current activists, as we see echoes and reflections of our work in present-day justice movements.
PRRAC’s 50 Years of ‘People vs HUD’
- Fifty Years of “The People v. HUD”: A HUD 50th Anniversary Timeline of Significant Civil Rights Lawsuits and HUD Fair Housing Advances (Updated in 2023)
This 70-year history illustrates the ways the Civil Rights Movement has shaped HUD policy.
Recent Civil Rights History Articles from Poverty & Race
Housing and School Segregation
- The Legacy of Buffalo’s Landmark Housing Desegregation Case, Comer v. Kemp (Scott W. Gehl, November 2020)
- A Steady Habit of Segregation: The Origins and Continued Harm of Separate and Unequal Housing and Public Schools in Metropolitan Hartford, Connecticut (NAACP LDF, PRRAC, Open Communities Alliance, Sillerman Center, October 2020)
- Housing and School Segregation: Government Culpability, Government Remedies (2005). These three historical studies, by Arnold Hirsch, Raymond Mohl, and David Freund, funded by a multi-year grant from the Ford Foundation, trace the development of federal housing and transportation policies in relation to increasing housing and school segregation in American metropolitan areas. These studies take a much closer look at the early decisions and policies within the federal, bureaucracy that have been broadly described in works like Douglas Massey & Nancy Denton’s American Apartheid.
- Arnold Hirsch, “The Last and Most Difficult Barrier”: Segregation and Federal Housing Policy in the Eisenhower Administration, 1953-1960 (PRRAC, 2005)
- Raymond Mohl, The Interstates and the Cities: Highways, Housing, and the Freeway Revolt (PRRAC, 2002)
- David Freund, Democracy’s Unfinished Business: Federal Policy and the Search for Fair Housing, 1961-1968 (PRRAC, 2004)
Public Housing Desegregation
- Erica Hashimoto, Compelling Responsibility: A Summary of Litigation Establishing the Federal Government’s Liability for Racially Segregated Housing Patterns (PRRAC, 1997)
- Annotated Bibliography on Public Housing Desegregation Remedies (PRRAC, 1997)
- An Analysis of the Thompson v. HUD Decision (PRRAC, 2005)
- Sanders v. HUD (Poverty & Race, 1996)
- Christian Community Action v. HUD (Poverty & Race, 1999)
- Scott W. Gehl, The Legacy of Buffalo’s Landmark Housing Desegregation Case, Comer v. Kemp (PRRAC, 2020)
The National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is an independent Commission charged with assessing the current state of fair housing in America and making recommendations for a revived federal commitment to fair housing. The Commission is sponsored by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the National Fair Housing Alliance and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and is co-chaired by former HUD Secretaries Henry Cisneros and Jack Kemp. Over the course of hearings in 5 cities, the Commission has heard testimony on serious problems in fair housing enforcement, the need for stronger fair housing oversight of HUD grantees, origins and solutions to the foreclosure crisis, the relation between school and housing segregation, and the structural impediments to fair housing in federal and state housing programs.
This is the official archive of the Commission proceedings, including written testimony, exhibits, Commission correspondence, and links to video of the Commission testimony (PRRAC was helping to staff the Commission’s work)
- Profile of Commissioners
- Chicago hearing (July 15, 2008)
- Houston field hearing (July 31, 2008)
- Los Angeles hearing (September 9, 2008)
- Boston hearing (September 22, 2008)
- Atlanta hearing (October 17, 2008)
- Commission Correspondence
- Final Commission Report
PRRAC Articles and Resources on Reparations 1990-2000
- Poverty & Race Newsletter July/August 1994
- Poverty & Race Newsletter September/October 1994 (“Reparations: A Symposium”)
- “Let Us Not Accept Either Victimology or Blaming-the-Victimology” by Wilson Riles, Jr.
- “Reparations for Catastrophic Human Waste” by Joe R. Feagin and Hernan Vera
- “H.R. 40 Misses the Point” by Sharon Parker
- “Atonement and Self-Determination” by Kalonji Olusegun
- “Morally Powerful, But Divisive” by David McReynolds
- “Focus on Self-Interest, Not Shame” by Billy J. Tidwell
- “Reparations Versus Economic Integration” by Herbert J. Gans
- Poverty & Race Newsletter November/December 1994
- Compilation of PRRAC resources on reparations, Part 1
- Compilation of PRRAC resources on reparations, Part 2
Other Teaching Resources
“Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching” (PRRAC and Teaching for Change). We are co-publishers, with Teaching for Change, of this award-winning 500+ page civil rights teaching guide, which stresses the contributions of rank and file activists, and the relation of the Civil Rights Movement to contemporary organizing struggles. The goal is to help empower students and to connect the Movement with present day issues in their communities. For more information, contact Tessa Delgo (TDelgo@prrac.org).
- Milliken v. Bradley (Detroit Schools Case) Archives at Wayne State University (Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, December 2017)
- “Housing Is Everybody’s Problem”: The Forgotten Crusade of Morris Milgram (Places Journal, October 2017)
- Chicago 1966: The Chicago Freedom Movement (interactive chronology and collection of resources)
- Excerpt from “Race: The Power of an Illusion, Part 3 –The House We Live In” (California Newsreel, 2003)
- Historical Shift from Explicit to Implicit Policies Affecting Housing Segregation in Eastern Massachusetts (web-based history lesson from the Boston Fair Housing Center on the history of housing segregation in Eastern Massachusetts, June 2015)
- “Public Housing: Persisting Conundrums” by Alexander Polikoff (delivered at the “Know Your Chicago Symposium,” Jenner & Block, September 10, 2014)
- Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights: Relevancy for Today (38-page curriculum for grades 3–12 provides grade-specific lessons, resources, and extension activities examining civil rights in the United States – past and present).
- Syllabus: “African American Struggles for Freedom and Civil Rights, 1865-1965” (2011 NEH Institute for College Teachers, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University)
- Aspects of the Civil Rights Movement (a law school syllabus developed by Florence Roisman)
- A Freedom Budget for All Americans (1967)