March commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the Fair Housing Act set for Monday


Ames City Hall.

Ashtyn Perrin

Ames will see a march to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Fair Housing Act on Monday, April 23. Signed on April 11, 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the act made it illegal to discriminate in renting or selling housing based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status, or disability.

The law makes it unlawful to refuse to sell or rent housing to someone for any reason other than financial resources.

The march will commence at Brookside Park at 11:30 a.m. and finish at City Hall at 1 p.m. At City Hall on Tuesday, Mayor John Haila of Ames will formally establish April as Fair Housing Month.

Ames Public Relations Officer Susan Gwiasda emphasized the march is open to the public for participation. The purpose of the march is to recognize the activists who previously battled to get the act passed prior to 1968.

In close proximity of the April 11 signing of the Fair Housing Act was the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. Leading up to his death, the Fair Housing Act had been under vehement parley in the United States Senate.

The act was first introduced to Congress in 1966 where it failed to continue on several times without the necessary support.

In the days after King’s assassination, the House of Representatives sent the act quickly through the legislature amid rioting across the nation and combined pressure from President Johnson and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. One week later, the act was signed by President Johnson in a televised showing.

“In their presence that afternoon, I signed a message to the Congress,” said President Johnson. “That message called for the enactment of the first effective federal law against discrimination in the sale and the rental of housing in the United States of America.”

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was intended to be an addition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned any discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, or national origin.