Fighting for Fair Housing: A conference on the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act


Location: IUSB Civil Rights Heritage Center


In 1950 a group of African Americans, at a Studebaker factory in South Bend, Indiana, met in secret with a courageous mission: to stand up against entrenched and federally supported housing segregation. They created the non-profit organization Better Homes of South Bend. After a struggle of four years, the group managed to build twenty-two homes in a white neighborhood  and create a vibrant community there.

Over a decade later in Chicago, residents were still fighting for fair housing. Unable to obtain traditional loans, they were forced to buy homes under contract with highly inflated prices and when they couldn't make the ever increasing payments, they were simply ejected. In January 1968, residents and activists organized the Contract Buyers League. The group fought hard in the courts and on the streets until they were able to renegotiate their abusive contracts. Later that year, the Fair Housing Act was enacted, outlawing housing discrimination across the United States.

The Fighting for Fair Housing Conference marks the 50th anniversary of this act. We look back at the discriminatory policies that inspired the act, and we discuss the act itself, what it has accomplished and the challenges of today. Academics, housing advocates, attorneys and community members will come together in a call to action to once again tackle the issues of housing discrimination.

Please note: This registered event is full, and no further seating is available.

6:00 pm Reception

7:00 pm Opening Panel: Our History of Housing Discrimination

Beryl Satter, Professor of History, Rutgers University, Newark

Jack Macnamara, Contract Buyers League

Clyde Ross and Ethel Weatherspoon, Contract Buyers League

Sandra and Donald York, Contract Buyers League

Gabrielle Robinson, Professor Emerita, Indiana University South Bend

Leroy Cobb, Better Homes

Michael Jackson, Better Homes

Kathy Bingham, Better Homes

Seating at Thursday's Reception and Panel event is limited, and reservations are required.

Please use the form here to reserve your seats.

"Fighting for Fair Housing" continues on Friday, April 20 at Notre Dame Law School. See details here.

"Fighting for Fair Housing" is sponsored by The Department of Africana Studies  /  The Center for Civil and Human Rights  /  The Center for Social Concerns  /  IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center  /  Notre Dame Clinical Law Center  /   Notre Dame Office of Community Relations  /  St. Joseph Bar Foundation