On April 11, 1968—seven days after the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—President Lyndon Johnson signed into law Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act. The legislation was co-sponsored by then-Senators Edward Brooke and Walter Mondale and advanced an ambitious and progressive vision: to eliminate housing discrimination and residential segregation in this country. As envisioned, the Fair Housing Act is an important tool for achieving both justice and equity. In signing the bill, President Johnson proclaimed: “At long last, fair housing for all is now a part of the American way of life. We have come some of the way—not near all of it.
The year 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, as well as the 30th anniversary of the creation of the National Fair Housing Alliance. As the nation’s leading fair housing advocacy organization, NFHA is uniquely positioned to plan and lead the 50th Anniversary activities. Far more than a celebration, the year-long commemoration will move us closer to being a nation where fair housing and opportunity are the norm in all communities.
Fair housing is not just an important tool for eliminating discrimination; it also helps to strengthen families, communities, businesses, and our overall economy. Fulfillment of the letter and spirit of the law means that every community can be a place of opportunity where people can live in diverse, inclusive, accessible neighborhoods with quality schools, healthy foods, meaningful jobs, health care, green spaces, quality credit, and the other opportunities that frame and affect our lives.
For all of 2018 across the country we will be engaging communities in conversations and facilitating action to both celebrate the 50 Year Anniversary of The Fair Housing Act and empower inform around fair housing. Films, photo exhibits, forums, poetry slams, and more make up our year long celebration!
When a single gunshot rings out at a small motel in Memphis, the assassination of Dr. King triggers riots across the country. President Johnson, long frustrated by his inability to improve fair housing conditions for people of color, scrambles to use the crisis to his advantage. With few days to spare and many arms to twist, he and two young Senators – Edward Brooke and Walter Mondale – attempt to push a fair housing bill through a reluctant Congress before the slain Civil Rights leader is laid to rest. The Fair Housing Act was ultimately passed just seven days after Dr. King’s untimely death.
Underwritten by Nationwide to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, this short film tells the important story of how the law was passed, reminds people about its significance, and compels us all to complete the unfinished work of the Act.
We’ve also created an interactive timeline to help tell the important story of Fair Housing in America.
The 50 Stories Short Film Contest is a competition designed to develop powerful, creative, well-developed short stories about 50 people whose lives have been impacted by the Fair Housing Act. From survivors of domestic violence and sexual harassment to homeowners joining forces to fight redlining and displacement practices, these stories will illustrate how fair housing principles can empower people, support families, strengthen communities and help businesses grow.
With the support of seasoned industry experts, 10 short films will be selected for a final round of judging by some of films most successful players – like award-winning director and Founder & CEO of ACTIII Productions, Norman Lear. The contest winner will receive a $4,000 award along with other prizes.