Mesa Community College REA 281
Principles of Real Estate Law study materials

jpg   Fair Housing Timeline
Issues in Fair Housing:
Trace Fair Housing back to the Civil War

This timeline traces four threads in the long road that led to today's standard Fair Housing laws: the Constitution, the Civil War, federal laws, and Supreme Court cases. Click on the asterisk to see more information about each event.

1775-1783: American Revolutionary War
* 1776: Continental Congress adopts Declaration of Independence
* 1787: Constitutional Convention ratifies Constitution
* 1820: Missouri Compromise
* 1854-1860: Bleeding Kansas
* 1857: Supreme Court decides Dred Scott v. Sanford, pro-slavery
* 1861-1865: American Civil War
* 1861: Confederacy formed under Jefferson Davis Feb. 9
* 1861: President Lincoln sworn in March 4
* 1861: Confederate forces attack Ft. Sumter April 12
* 1863: Pres. Lincoln reads 2nd half of Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1
* 1865: General Robert E. Lee surrenders at Appomattox Courthouse April 9
* 1865: President Lincoln assassinated April 15
* 1865: Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, adopted
* 1866: Civil Rights Act of 1866 grants rights of citizenship
* 1868: Fourteenth Amendment, defining citizenship, adopted
* 1870: Fifteenth Amendment, granting voting rights, adopted
1965-1877: Next three presidents after Lincoln: Johnson, Grant, Hayes
* 1876-1965: Jim Crow segregation laws in force
* 1896: Supreme Court decides Plessy v. Ferguson, confirms Jim Crow laws
* 1920: Nineteenth Amendment gives women the right to vote
* 1933: Glass-Steagall Act and Banking Act of 1933 establish the FDIC for investor deposits.
* 1938: Segregationist, racist deed restrictions allowed in FHA Underwriting Manual
* 1948: Supreme Court decides Shelly v. Kramer, reverses deed restrictions
* 1954: Supreme Court decides Brown v. Board of Education, integrates schools
* 1957: Central High Crisis in Little Rock, Arkansas
* 1964: Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws segregation
* 1965: President Johnson forms HUD, other Great Society programs
* 1968: Civil Rights Act of 1968, Fair Housing Act, or Title VII
* 1968: Supreme Court decides Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., ends deed restrictions
* 1974: Equal Credit Opportunity Act
* 1974: Civil Rights Act of 1974 adds gender as a protected class
* 1975: Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
* 1977: Community Reinvestment Act (Community Development Act)
* 1988: Civil Rights Act of 1988 adds disability and family status as protected classes
* 1990: Americans with Disabilities Act
* 1999: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repeals Glass-Steagall Act of 1933
* 2000: Commodity Futures Modernization Act deregulates banks
* 2004: SEC further deregulates financial institutions
* 2005: Height of the housing bubble
* 2008: Government takes over Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, September
* 2009: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
* 2010: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

1776 1776 - The Second Continental Congress, convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, declaring that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." The American Revolutionary war for American independence continued for seven more years (1775-1783).
1787 1787 - The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ratifies the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787, in the name of The People.

The Constitution did not settle the issue of slavery because the Southern and Northern states could not come to an agreement. The three-fifths compromise stated that slaves would count as a fraction of a person. The Constitution did not grant minorities or women the right to equal treatment, or voting rights.
1820 1820 - The Missouri Compromise set up slave states in the Western territories, roughly along the Mason-Dixon line, a symbolic geographical division between free and slave states. The compromise allowed Missouri to have slaves, but not Kansas. This set the stage for a series of violent events known as Bleeding Kansas, or Bloody Kansas (1854-1860).
1857 1857 - Supreme Court decides Dred Scott vs. Sanford. In the history of the United States, the northern, non-slave states had always included a minority of free black citizens, some of whom were land owners, and therefore they had the right to vote. There was a belief in the common law of the non-slave areas, "Once free, always free," meaning that blacks in the free north or west could not be taken into slavery in the South. Further, various judges had set precedent that slave owners who brought their slaves to free states had thereby emancipated their slaves into free persons. Then, even if former slaves traveled into slave states, they would be protected by the "once free, always free" rule. Dred Scott was a slave who had traveled into Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory with his owner, a military doctor. In 1846, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit in the State of Missouri, alleging that he was a free person. One of his former slave owners supported his lawsuit and helped him. In 1850, a jury applied the doctrine of "once free, always free," and ruled that Scott was free because of residing in free states. The slave owner had died, but his widow appealed the case and the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in her favor. Dred Scott v. Sanford went to the Court of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (pronounced Tawney), who supported slavery. He turned down Dred Scott's request to be free and ruled that any salve taken anywhere in the United States or its territories would remain a slave. "Once a salve, always a salve." Thus, Taney's decision legalized slavery throughout the country. His ruling effectively stripped all blacks throughout the country of their citizenship and made it impossible for any person of African American descent to be a citizen of any state.

Dred Scott v. Sanford was decided March 6, 1857. The most memorable part of his opinion, which took him two hours to read aloud to the courtroom, said:

"It is difficult at this day to realize the state of public opinion in regard to that unfortunate race which prevailed in the civilized and enlightened portions of the world at the time of the Declaration of Independence, and when the Constitution of the United States was framed and adopted; but the public history of every European nation displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far unfit that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
1861 1861 - The Confederate States of America is formed with Jefferson Davis as president on February 9. War breaks out on April 12, 1861, when General Pierre Beauregard leads the Confederate Army to fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Civil War is know by many names: the War of Rebellion, the War for Southern Independence, the War of Northern Aggression, and the War Between the States. It pitted brother against brother, divided families and loved ones, and decimated the South economically. Historian Peter Irons, Ph.D., J.D. said the Civil War "cost the lives of six hundred thousand Americans, most of them young men who cared more about honor and valor in battle than they did about slavery." - from The History of the Supreme Court, University of San Diego, Part I, Lecture Eight, The Teaching Company.

Quoted from a Southerner's point of view:*

"For most northerners, the war was not initially about ending slavery; it was about keeping the nation united so that it would be safe and strong for democracy.

"Southerners, on the other hand, were not used to looking to the government for guidance. . . . For them, the war was about preserving their independent way of life and not just about keeping slavery."
1863 1863 - President Lincoln issues the second of two parts of the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves (September 22, 1862 and January 1, 1863). However, the Civil War continues for two more years.
1865 1865 - On April 9, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate Army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Grant allows Rebel officers to keep their sidearms and permits soldiers to keep horses and mules. The next day, celebrations break out in Washington, DC. The American flag is raised over Fort Sumter April 14. To learn more about the Civil War, visit

1865 - John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln April 14; the president dies the next day. Vice President Andrew Johnson takes office April 15 and presides over the aftermath of the war.

1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment is adopted December 6 to end discrimination and authorize Congress to pass laws to abolish "the badges and incidents of slavery." This amendment continues to prohibit slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.
1866 1866 - The Civil Rights Act of 1866 grants further rights to freed slaves. President Andrew Johnson vetoes it, but Congress overrides his veto. Ever since 1866, this federal law has made it illegal to discriminate in housing based on race. However, the law was not enforced until the Civil Rights Movement, about a century later.
1868 1868 - The fourteenth Constitutional amendment is adopted July 9, providing a broader definition of citizenship. It repeals the three-fifths compromise and overrules the Dred Scott decision, which said slaves could not be citizens.
1870 1870 - The fifteenth amendment, adopted February 3, granted voting rights to all men (not women) regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude [slavery]." The Constitution has twenty-seven amendments, the first ten of which are called the Bill of Rights. The thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments are known as the Civil War Amendments. The Civil Rights Amendments ended segregation (13), provided citizenship (14), and gave the right to vote to former slaves (15). These amendments officially settled the question of slavery.

1876 1876 - Jim Crow segregation laws enforced from 1876 to 1965.

Summary of changes in the White House following the Civil War:

In 1865, President Lincoln gave a speech praising the thirteenth amendment. He was killed three days later.

President Johnson (Lincoln's VP) was against civil rights and did everything he could to stop it once he got into office. He vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, but Congress overrode his veto. Then Congress passed the fourteenth amendment to prevent future presidential vetoes, granting citizenship, and overruling the Dred Scott decision. Johnson opposed the fourteenth amendment and was impeached, but he survived impeachment by one vote.

The next president, General Ulysses S. Grant, a Republican (i.e., liberal), served from 1869-1977. He signed the fourteenth amendment into law and championed civil rights. He led Reconstruction by signing and enforcing Congressional civil rights legislation. However, his administration was marked with scandal. He wrote his memoirs and died at sixty-three. As a general-in-chief of Union forces in the Civil War, he had won the war and accepted the unconditional surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House.

The election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes vs. Samuel J. Tilden was the most disputed presidential election in American history. Tilden won the popular vote and had 184 electoral votes to Hayes' 165, with 20 votes in dispute. Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina each claimed both candidate had won, while in Oregon one elector was declared illegal and replaced. Tilden only needed one elector to win, while Hayes needed all twenty. A bitter legal and political battle followed, and Hayes ended up with all twenty disputed electoral college votes, giving him the victory. As part of the negotiations (many historians believe), Hayes agreed to what is called the Compromise of 1877, in which Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction.

1896 1896 - Supreme Court rules on Plessy v. Ferguson on May 18, upholding Jim Crow segregation laws, which were enacted beginning in 1876 (and continued through 1965). Plessy v. Ferguson orginated from an act of civil disobedience planned and carried out by the Comité des Citoyens (Committee of Citizens), made up of the educated Free People of Color in New Orleans. The defendant, Homer Plessy was French Creole, with only one black ancestor. To challenge Jim Crow, he purchased a ticket and boarded the first class car of a train in Louisiana. He had arranged to be arrested so his case would go to court.
1920 1920 - Nineteenth Amendment gives women the right to vote Aug. 26.
1933 1933 - After bank crash of 1929, Glass-Steagall Act creates the FDIC to insure bank failures, but imposes banking reforms, and regulates the forms of financial speculation FDIC covers. The Banking Act of 1933 differentiates between what commercial banks can do and what securities firms can do, and regulates how they can interact or be related.
1938 1938 - Segregationist, racist deed restrictions allowed in FHA Underwriting Manual.
980 (3). g. Prohibition of the occupancy of properties except by the race for which they are intended.
982 (1). Schools should be appropriate to the needs of the new community and they should not be attended in large numbers by inharmonious racial groups.
1948 1948 - Shelly v. Kramer - The Supreme Court held that state enforcement of a racially-based restrictive covenants would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
1954 1954 - Supreme Court decides Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka on May 17, declaring that segregation in public schools denied black children an equal educational. The decision overturned earlier rulings going back to Plessy v. Ferguson. The Warren Court's unanimous (9-0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." As a result, segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. This victory paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.
1955 1955 - December 1, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger. This lead to the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted until December 20, 1956, when a federal ruling, Browder v. Gayle, ended segregation on Montogmery public buses.
1957 1957 - Central High Crisis - After Brown v. Board of Education, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out the National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering Little Rock Central High, even though they were enrolled. President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the National Guard and ordered them back to their barracks, then deployed elements of the 101st Airborne Division to protect the students. The students were able to attend high school, but the situation remained volatile. Still resistant, Arkansas shut down its public school system rather than continue to integrate. Other school systems in the South did the same.
1964 1964 - The Civil Rights Act, adopted July 2, confirms voting rights and outlaws racial segregation in schools, business, and public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, theaters, trains, busses, etc.
1965 1965 - On September 9, President Lyndon Johnson signs the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act into law. HUD becomes a cabinet of the executive branch of the federal government as a component of President Johnson's Great Society program. HUD was previously a federal agency called the House and Home Financing Agency. Affirmative Action laws, meant to provide opportunities to the effects of discrimination, come from executive orders during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.
1968 jpg 1968 - The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law on April 11. Also known as the Fair Housing Act, or Title VIII, it adds additional provisions to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Now the law prohibits racial discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, or national origin. Victims of discrimination may use both the 1968 act and the 1866 act (via section 1982) to sue for redress.

Title VIII prohibits blockbusting (trying to use race to get people to sell out), steering (trying to predetermine where people should live based on prejudice), and redlining (designating areas where lenders and insurance companies won't do business).

1968 - Supreme Court decides Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co. June 17, outlawing deed restrictions and racial discrimination in the sale and rental of real estate, based on the Thirteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1866.
1974 1974 - The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits credit discrimination, based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, or dependency on public assistance. Lenders are prohibited from asking women seeking credit if they are married or pregnant. Lenders must give a reason for loan denial and borrows can dispute the reasons.

1974 - Gender is added as a protected class to the Fair Housing Act. This means women can buy a house without being married.
1975 1975 - Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requires lenders to maintain and annually disclose data about who they loan to. It also requires branches and loan centers to display a HMDA poster. It was meant to detect lending discrimination.
1977 1977 - The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) title VIII of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1977. The Act requires the appropriate federal financial supervisory agencies to encourage regulated financial institutions to meet the credit needs of the local communities. To enforce the statute, federal regulatory agencies examine banking institutions for CRA compliance.
1988 1988 - Disability and family status are added as protected classes under the Fair Housing Act.
1990 1990 - Americans with Disabilities Act signed into law July 26. It is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal. Disability is defined as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." The determination of whether any particular condition is considered a disability is made on a case by case basis. Certain conditions are excluded as disabilities, such as current substance abuse and visual impairment that is correctable by prescription lenses. ADA applies to businesses, including the leasing office of apartments and new home sales offices.
1999 1999 - The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act cancels out needed provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act and Banking Act of 1933. These two laws established the FDIC to insure investor's deposits, and separate banks from investment firms. The FDIC was not meant to insure banks' risky speculation. Therefore, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act is one of the steps toward the housing market crash and massive 2009 bank bail-outs.
2000 2000 - The Commodity Futures Modernization Act exempts derivatives from regulation, supervision, trading on established exchanges, and capital reserve requirements for major participants. Concerns that counterparties to derivative deals would be unable to pay their obligations caused pervasive uncertainty during the crisis. Particularly relevant to the crisis are credit default swaps (CDS), a derivative in which Party A pays Party B what is essentially an insurance premium, in exchange for payment should Party C default on its obligations. In early 2003, Warren Buffett called derivatives "financial weapons of mass destruction."
2004 2004 - Securities and Exchange Commission relaxes rules to allow investment banks to substantially increase the level of debt they take on, fueling the growth in mortgage-backed securities supporting subprime mortgages. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (government-sponsored entities that purchase mortgages, buy and sell mortgage-backed securities, and guarantee nearly half of US mortgages) take on additional risk, beginning in the mid-1990s and continuing until their government takeover in September 2008.
2009 2009 - The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act gave $14.7 billion for the following: Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for repairing and modernizing public housing, including increasing energy efficiency; tax credits for financing low-income housing construction; Section Eight housing rental assistance; Neighborhood Stabilization Program to purchase and repair foreclosed vacant housing; rental assistance to prevent homelessness; community development grants; mortgage assistance for wounded service members; rehab of Native American housing; energy efficient modernization of low-income housing; help for rural Americans to buy homes; grants for independent living centers for elderly blind persons; rural community facilities; money to remove lead paint from public housing; emergency food and shelter to combat homelessness.
2010 2010: Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act passes as a response to the economic crisis. It places new fees and limits on banks, and new restrictions on the derivatives market. It outlines a consumer protection bureau for mortgage and credit-card products.

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Fair Housing information at this site index