1969 February 10

Federal Judge Finds City of Chicago Guilty of Discrimination in Public Housing


A federal District Court judge in Chicago on this day ruled that the Chicago Housing Authority engaged in racially discriminatory practices in the selection of public housing sites and in the assignment of tenants. The suit was brought by the ACLU. The judge found that individual members of the 50-person city council had the informal power to veto proposed public housing units in their neighborhoods. This practice prevented the placement of public housing units in all-white or predominantly-white neighborhoods. Additionally, the judge found that the number of African-American families in four units in white neighborhoods were limited by a quota policy. In 50 separate public housing units, 9.5 percent of the tenants were African-American, while they were between 1 and 7 percent in four units in predominantly white neighborhoods.

Congress passed the federal Fair Housing Act on April 11, 1968.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law, and strengthened its enforcement, on June 25, 2015.

Learn more: John Yinger, Closed Doors, Opportunities Lost: The Continuing Costs of Housing Discrimination (1995)

Learn about housing discrimination at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights:

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