Housing

President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1968

President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1968

The Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, (Pub.L. 90-284, 82 Stat. 73, enacted April 11, 1968) was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that provided for equal housing opportunities regardless of race, creed, or national origin. The Act was signed into law during the King assassination riots by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had previously signed the landmark Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act into law.

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 is commonly known as the Fair Housing Act and was meant as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibited discrimination in housing, there were no federal enforcement provisions. The 1968 act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, and since 1974, gender; since 1988, the act protects people with disabilities and families with children.

Victims of discrimination may use both the 1968 act and the 1866 act via section 1983 to seek redress. The 1968 act provides for federal solutions while the 1866 act provides for private solutions (i.e., civil suits). A rider attached to the bill makes it a felony to “travel in interstate commerce… with the intent to incite, promote, encourage, participate in and carry on a riot…” This provision has been criticized for “equating organized political protest with organized violence.”

Citizens that have been convicted of a felony cannot receive fair housing. The housing reform will be addressed by the National African American Forum.