Interview with John McDermott

But Chicago had a Human Relations Commission that had an Open Housing Ordinance, why was it, why, especially why did the issue of open housing click so much with the Freedom Movement?


Well, the, ah, these, it's true it had a Human Relations Commission and an Open Housing Ordinance and they probably made the city better than cities that did not have these things. But they were relatively weak and that the, Open Housing Ordinance, after all had been, ah, ah, passed before the federal government had a fair housing law. It was easy to circumvent them. And, ah, the, everyone in the community knew and this civil, and the Movement made it more clear that there really were two markets. There was one market for White home buyers and renters and another for Blacks. And that the law was openly violated in many, many, real estate offices in many, many neighborhoods. Ah, the unfairness of that and the burden that it laid on Black people because they were unable to spread throughout the market and take advantages of the market, the unfairness of that is what the mark, what the movement lifted up for all eyes to see that this was the law here and this was the practice there. And the protest demonstrations, the vigils in front of real estate offices were in front of real estate offices where the local fair housing law was openly violated. And that clear evil of that system awakened a lot of people and strengthened the movement. Thousands of people came out to be part of a protest against this obvious unfairness.