HUD Secretary Ben Carson observes anniversary of MLK's 'I Have A Dream' speech

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has formerly been accused of failing to enforce the Fair Housing Act

On the 55th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speech, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson wrote a tweet in support of the civil rights leader’s legacy — even as his agency comes under attack for rolling back anti-segregation measures.

“55 years ago today, Dr Martin Luther King, JR inspired millions & helped passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with his I Have a Dream speech,” Carson posted on his official Twitter account today, August 28. “All Americans can participate in Dr. King’s legacy, by continuing to carry the torch of liberty and brotherly love.”

Nominated by President Donald Trump in Dec. 2016, Carson has been a divisive figure as HUD secretary. Amid increasing protests against plans to suspend an Obama-era mandate on correcting housing discrimination, the state of New York joined a lawsuit filed by three civil rights groups against HUD in May.

Under the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing mandate, federal funding would have been held from local governments that fail to take concrete steps to desegregate themselves. The initiative, according to various housing activist groups, is necessary to push segregated communities into action.

The lawsuit by civil rights groups, which was dismissed earlier this month, claimed that by rolling back the mandate HUD failed to enforce the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing.

“As a former HUD Secretary, it is unconscionable to me that the agency entrusted to protect against housing discrimination is abdicating its responsibility, and New York will not stand by and allow the federal government to undo decades of progress,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at the time.

Email Veronika Bondarenko