New Display at the Capitol Highlights Fair Housing Milestones

Posters about Fair Housing on the wall at the Legislative Office Building

Every April, in honor of Fair Housing Month, the Center curates a display about fair housing for Connecticut’s Legislative Office Building to educate legislators, staff, and the many advocates, students, and visitors who pass through the Capitol buildings on a daily basis.

 

 

Because 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, we decided that this year’s display would focus on the significance of this seminal piece of legislation, highlighting the events that led to its passage as well as some events that have occurred since Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law back on April 11, 1968.  We created a timeline covering 100 years of history to explain how policies and seminal court decisions created and maintain the segregated neighborhoods we see across Connecticut today.

 

For example, you may know that the 1944 Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (better known as the G.I. Bill) helped to create the largest middle class in the nation’s history after World War II.  This legislation helped millions of returning veterans attend college and buy homes, building wealth that would be passed down to future generations.

Posters about fair housing history at the Legislative Office Building concourse

However, many people don’t realize that African-American veterans were left out of the bill’s most powerful benefits.  While White veterans took advantage of new low-interest mortgage loans to buy homes in the growing suburbs, many Black veterans were unable to obtain mortgages because banks wouldn’t lend to them or underwrite loans in non-white neighborhoods, a practice called redlining that was backed by the federal government.  In fact, banks even refused to lend to White families who wanted to buy homes in diverse neighborhoods.  Black veterans who could obtain mortgages were often blocked from buying in white neighborhoods because of racially restrictive covenants, racial steering by real estate agents, and other discriminatory practices.

The rest of the display highlights similar policies, practices, and court cases that shaped neighborhoods in Connecticut and across the country – for better or for worse – all the way up to the present day.

 

Congratulations to our 2018 Student Poster Contest Finalists!

The display also includes a look at the future of fair housing from the finalists of our annual Fair Housing Poster Contest. Students in 6th – 12th grades from schools across Connecticut submitted artwork that reflected this year’s theme: Choice. Mobility. Equity.  Their artwork is fantastic!   This year’s finalists are:6 colorful posters, finalists in the Fair Housing poster contest, hanging on a wall in the Legislative Office Building

Joe Barberi, Norwich Technical High School

Ashley Edmund, Norwich Technical High School

Dewlys Maldondo, Hartford Trinity College Academy

Outdam Nuon, Norwich Technical High School

Marysabel Rivera, Connecticut River Academy

Yeji Yang, Northwest Catholic High School

 

The winners will be announced at the end of April.

The Center’s Fair Housing Month display can be viewed on the Lower Concourse between the Capitol and the LOB now through April 13th.  If you find yourself in Hartford, we encourage you to stop by and take a look!

Want more Fair Housing history?  Check out the National Fair Housing Alliance’s interactive 50th anniversary timeline of the Fair Housing Act.  Interested in what happened closer to home?  Find out about the Center’s Fair Housing Tour of Hartford!

 

An Accidental Jump into New London’s History

When I first met Laura Natusch, the Executive Director of New London Landmarks, I did not expect that agreeing to collaborate on a fair housing history project would literally take me all over the city of New London, Connecticut. We have done important (and fun) work

Flyer for educational event on New London's Lost Neighborhood, set for April 10th at 7pm at Mount Moriah Church in New London, CT.uncovering missing streets, and unearthing historic pictures and maps of this small Whaling City that rests on Long Island Sound.

In 1962, the City of New London passed a referendum to begin the Winthrop Cove Urban Renewal project. While some urban renewal projects are well documented and widely known, this specific slum removal plan is not. And because every untold story needs a voice, Laura and I went exploring to figure out how the built environment changed as a result of the Winthrop Cove Urban Renewal project, and how discrimination played a role.

1962 New London City Council meeting minutes

1962 New London City Council minutes.

The project found us deep in the dusty stacks of New London’s City Hall and reviewing months of microfilm at the City library. We have read old City Council minutes and walked the City to figure out exactly where the project took place and imagine what was lost. Volunteers and retired librarians have stepped in to help us, and every new finding feels kind of like the excitement of anticipating the next firework during a fourth of July display.

We can’t wait to share what we have learned and uncovered!

Please join the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, New London Landmarks, and our guest speaker Lonnie Braxton, former President of the NAACP New London Chapter, for a free educational event that will tell the story of how decades of discriminatory policies led to the divestment of one neighborhood, and how “urban renewal” removed it from the maps:

Discrimination, Urban Renewal, and New London’s Lost Neighborhood

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Mount Moriah Church, 22 Moore Ave. New London, CT

7:00pm – 8:30pm

Refreshments from Washington Street Coffee House will be provided!

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