MLK’s Other Dream? Equal Housing Opportunity

A year before his death, he launched the Poor People’s Campaign to fight job and housing inequality, among other issues. Historians say the Poor People’s Campaign and the Chicago Open Housing Movement laid the groundwork for the 1968 Fair Housing ActMartin Luther King Jr.

Trikosko, Marion S.,/Library of CongressBY MARIAN MCPHERSONJanuary 15, 2018

This post was last updated Jan. 14, 2022. Inman News

Although Martin Luther King, Jr. is most remembered for his struggle to secure voting rights and stop segregation, the civil rights icon’s dream of racial equity reached far beyond integrated public life — it also included economic security and housing rights for the millions of minority and low-income Americans who’d been relegated to their cities’ under-resourced neighborhoods and housing projects.

King began planting the seeds of what would become the Poor People’s Campaign in Chicago, where thousands of Black Chicagoans struggled with job and housing insecurity — something they’d hoped they escaped during the Great Migration, the term used to describe a decades-long exodus from the fields of the South to the factories of the North.

Although some Black people found great success in Chicago, Detroit, New York City and other similar places, many more found the only thing that changed in their life was their address.

“We are here today because we are tired,” Dr. King said, according to a transcript of a speech he made at Chicago’s Soldier Field. “We are tired of paying more for less. We are tired of living in rat-infested slums … We are tired of having to pay a median rent of $97 a month in Lawndale for four rooms while whites living in South Deering pay $73 a month for five rooms.”

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,” he added. “Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children.”

According to articles by HuffPost and NPR, Dr. King spent much of 1966 in Chicago, even moving his family to an apartment on the city’s predominately Black west side. There, King and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) launched the Chicago Open Housing Movement, whose goals included the rehab of public housing, increasing the supply of affordable housing, pushing for diversity and integration in businesses and unions, a $2 minimum wage and the abolition of wage garnishment.

Over the course of the year, King and SCLC activists held citywide rallies, planned demonstrations in front of real estate brokerages and marched into Chicago’s all-white neighborhoods, which were met with violent reactions from the city’s white residents. “Well, this is a terrible thing,” King said in a soundbite acquired by NPR. “I’ve been in many demonstrations all across the South, but I can say that I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hostile and as hate-filled as I’m seeing in Chicago.”

Eager to quell the violence, Chicago’s mayor, Richard J. Daley, agreed to meet with King and other activists in August 1966 to work out an agreement, which included building future public housing with “limited height requirements,” and requiring the Mortgage Bankers Association to make mortgages available regardless of race.

King hailed the agreement ‘‘the most significant program ever conceived to make open housing a reality,’’ but tempered his assessment by recognizing it as only “the first step in a 1,000-mile journey.’’

The next year, King went back to the South and began planning the Poor People’s Campaign, which was built from his experiences in Chicago the year before. He and the SCLC began creating a blueprint for economic and housing equity that addressed the systems and policies that kept minority and low-income communities behind the eight ball.

“This is a highly significant event,” King told the SCLC in November 1967, according to an archive at Stanford’s King Institute. “[This] the beginning of a new co-operation, understanding, and a determination by poor people of all colors and backgrounds to assert and win their right to a decent life and respect for their culture and dignity.”

He garnered support from civil rights leaders in American Indian, Puerto Rican, Mexican American, and poor white communities and began planning another March on Washington to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, and education for adults and children. “It’s as pure as a man needing an income to support his family,” King said.

King was assassinated before he could finish planning the demonstration; however, other SCLC leaders and his wife, Coretta Scott King, banned together and finished planning the march, which took place on Mothers’ Day 1968. After the initial demonstration, protestors pitched tents on the Mall in Washington and lobbied for fair employment and housing policies until their park permit expired a month later.

Even though the campaign was largely unsuccessful in making widespread change — they did secure free food surplus distribution to 200 counties — historians say the Poor People’s Campaign and the Chicago Open Housing Movement laid the groundwork for the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which ensures that all Americans have access to equal housing opportunities and outlaws discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or familial status.

Although the Fair Housing Act has improved the living conditions of Americans, many readily point out there is still much work as evidenced by disproportionately low homeownership rates for Blacksrampant gentrification in communities of color, a lack of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families, and concerns about new technologies, such as Facebook, being used to discreetly discriminate.

“And we have to continue in the legacy of MLK and the civil rights movement and the legacy of abolition movements of before,” said Paige May, a Chicago resident who spoke to NPR after an event to celebrate MLK.

“We have a lot of work to do, but it’s also — it feels like a day that’s celebratory in a lot of ways, right? But in the sphere of struggle and resistance.”


The Need For More Inventory Has Never Been More Apparent

Based on compiled data from more than six million property showings scheduled across the country, Home Buyer Demand jumps 98.4% in the West as traffic grows again nationwide.

  • March 24, 2021 – Dwindling inventory was again met with an outpouring of buyer demand throughout the country in February as an unprecedented 75 markets reported double-digit growth, according to the ShowingTime Showing Index®
  • Nationwide, buyer traffic jumped 49.5 percent, continuing a trend of national year-over-year growth in buyer demand that began in May 2020.
  • “In March and April, year-over-year comparisons will be less meaningful as the onset of COVID-19 in 2020 drove showing traffic down in those two months, but on a month-to-month basis we’re still likely to see further seasonal increases in demand, taking us further into this unprecedented direction. We expect that this will correlate with continued broad increases in prices.”


Americans have saved $1.6 trillion since the pandemic began.

Where To Spend All That Savings | An Opportunity To Build Wealth

  • Americans have saved $1.6 trillion since the pandemic started, per the Commerce Department.

  • That’s roughly half of overall global savings during the pandemic, and the same as South Korea’s GDP.

  • It’s also greater than the output gap, or economic hole created by Covid-19, signaling a coming economic boom.

Experts are currently projecting 4.6% growth for US GDP this year, per Bloomberg. If Americans spend all the money they saved in the past year, that could jump to 9%; whereas if they don’t, the GDP forecast could drop to 2.2%.

It’s why so many economists are predicting that lockdown lifting will see the biggest boomtime in a generation, potentially ushering in a new era in the US economy.

*Read full Insider article


Why Right Now May Be The Time to Sell Your Home

Why Right Now May Be the Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

The housing market made an incredible recovery in 2020 and is now positioned for an even stronger year in 2021. Record-low mortgage interest rates are a driving factor in this continued momentum, with average rates hovering at historic all-time lows.

Why Right Now May Be the Time to Sell Your House | MyKCM

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer demand across the country is incredibly strong. That’s not the case, however, on the supply side. Seller traffic is simply not keeping up. Here’s a breakdown by state:As the maps show, buyer traffic is high, but seller traffic is low. With so few homes for sale right now, record-low inventory is creating a mismatch between supply and demand.

NAR also just reported that the actual number of homes currently for sale stands at 1.28 million, down 22% from one year ago (1.64 million). Additionally, inventory is at an all-time low with 2.3 months supply available at the current sales pace. In a normal market, that number would be 6.0 months of inventory – significantly higher than it is today.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

Buyers need to remain patient in the search process. At the same time, they must be ready to act immediately once they find the right home since bidding wars are more common when so few houses are available for sale.

Sellers may not want to wait until spring to put their houses on the market, though. With such high buyer demand and such a low supply, now is the perfect time to sell a house on optimal terms.

Bottom Line

The real estate market is entering the year like a lion. There’s no indication it will lose that roar, assuming inventory continues to come to market.