Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Message
By Rick Schroeder, President
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. played a significant role in removing barriers to housing which existed for too many of our fellow citizens. In 1965 Dr. King began the ‘Chicago Freedom Movement’, a campaign which sought to challenge discrimination in employment, education, and housing in the city of Chicago. Attacking such discrimination was a natural outgrowth of his work in civil and voting rights in the South since such racial discrimination, including discrimination in housing, existed throughout the United States, even in the North. In a speech in Chicago on March 12, 1966, Dr. King spoke of the deplorable living conditions forced upon so many because of prejudice, segregation, racial covenants, redlining, and other discriminatory practices.
Although Dr. King’s life was tragically cut short just two years later, his death immediately led to the adoption of the Fair Housing Act of 1968—a law which prohibits discrimination in housing based on one’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status and ensures that all Americans have access to equal housing opportunities.
As we honor Dr. King’s birthday and legacy in 2021, we know that we still have a long way to go before all Americans have access to equal housing opportunities. Recent events have demonstrated that many areas of our life, including education, employment, income, and housing, are neither equal nor accessible to all.
At Many Mansions we play an important role in bringing Dr. King’s vision to those in our community most in need of housing and those who have been denied its equal access. We continue to envision a world where everyone, if given the opportunity, can reach their potential through stable, affordable, and enriching housing. We remain dedicated to developing affordable housing communities which are just, which are open, which give dignity, which give opportunity, and which give hope.
Dr. King ended his Chicago speech by asking that we engage in a sort of ‘Divine Dissatisfaction’ until “the American Dream is a Reality.” That we remain ‘dissatisfied’ until there is no more oppression and segregation in our lives, including housing. He warns that, “the road ahead will not always be smooth,” and that “our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted.” But as difficult and painful as it may be, “We must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.”
On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration let us honor this great man and dedicate ourselves to his vision.