Long-running housing discrimination case finally ends

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Sometimes, the wheels of justice turn slowly. Very slowly. But when a resolution finally is upon us, it is that much more remarkable simply because of the amount of time it took to get there.

Such is the case in one of the longest-running cases of housing discrimination in recent U.S. history.

It happened in a place called Hamtramck, Michigan, a community that today is noted for its diversity and where city officials are "striving to meet the needs of our citizens," according to the city's official website.

Only, it wasn't always that way. At least, not for all of its citizens.


Back in the 1960s, Hamtramck violated the civil rights of blacks who lived there at the time when white city officials made way for urban renewal projects by forcing many black residents to leave their homes, which were then torn down, according to The LA Times.

By 1980, nine years after a brief federal trial, a solution was finally put together: Some two hundred housing units ( along with ones just for seniors) would be offered to black plaintiffs in the lawsuit, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Yet, it took all the way to 2010 before just about one half of the promised units were actually built and before survivors of the original lawsuit or their children would be able to move into them. So, four decades after the federal suit, on Martin Luther King Day, one resident, Sallie Sanders (pictured) got the keys to her new home.

Why so long? Partly because the city fought the ruling, reports the LA Times. And partly because the city didn't actually have the money to build the project.

Said one law school expert to the Times, "This could be the oldest living discrimination case that involves housing."


Charles Feldman is a journalist and media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle."

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