The inception of federal fair housing and every subsequent expansion of fair housing rests on Dr. King’s willing sacrifice of his life for every American.  Dr. Lee Davenport speaks with Dr. Elizabeth Rosner of The King Center about King’s role in this historic struggle.

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Did you know that every last one of these classes (a.k.a. “The Big 7”) has protected status when it comes to federal fair housing due to the ultimate sacrifice of Dr. King’s life?

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation)
  • Familial status
  • Disability

A sacrifice worth remembering by all real estate professionals

Fair, open housing — a key pillar in the struggle for civil rights of the 1950s and 1960s — was not a federally legal requirement until Dr. King’s assassination in 1968. The inception of federal fair housing and every subsequent expansion of fair housing rests on Dr. King’s willing sacrifice of his life for every American.  

It is not hyperbole to say that in 2022, all of us have the legal right to be homeowners, real estate investors, and real estate professionals as a result of Dr. King. 

Dr. King is indeed worthy of a national, annual remembrance.

Take action: Please join me for a day of remembrance

If you are not familiar with how Dr. King’s death spurred the passage of federal fair housing laws or if you want ideas to honor the day or weekend, get the rundown from this important Atlanta Realtors Rundown podcast interview (by the Atlanta Realtors Association) with Dr. Elizabeth Rosner (affectionately called Dr. Roz), who is The King Center’s NV365 Special Projects Manager.

Dr. Roz shares how you can participate in activities hosted by The King Center (which houses Dr. and Mrs. King’s nonviolent teaching legacy and is their burial site) anywhere in the world.

We run down:

  • How Dr. King was the catalyst for our modern-day fair housing legislation
  • How you can commemorate MLK day anywhere in the world
  • The importance of community instead of chaos
  • How the King Center’s nonviolence approach is still needed to ensure fair housing today and every day
  • How the iconic singer and songwriter, Dolly Parton, as well as the famed civil rights attorney, Bryan Stevenson, are connected to the King Center, and you can interact with them

In addition to listening to and sharing this podcast, please ask your teams, offices and associations to commemorate MLK Day by specifically naming Dr. King’s legacy of federal fair housing legislation, which has made the American dream of homeownership possible for many of those in our communities who would have historically been overlooked (including me and some of you) because of the “Big 7” (race, religion, sex, national origin, color, familial status and disability).

Furthermore, I hope you will also share with your teams, office, association, clients, and database this popular article that was featured in Inman News giving even more context: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s most challenging struggle was housing

How did we get here? ‘A little child shall lead them … ‘

While we are on the subject of Dr. King, did you know that precious, little children marched and demonstrated during The Civil Rights Movement alongside Dr. King?

October 1964: My dad (one year after participating in The Civil Rights Movement) with his sister and cousins.

The bravery of those children is bittersweet. Their spirited spunk is sweet; yet, the fact that discrimination forced their tiny hands is oh so cruel and bitter. Frankly, it is hard for me to fathom the level of hatred that impressionable, dear children, who are worthy of communal protection from all (no matter their race or any other aspect of their humanity), had to face to volunteer as demonstrators to just obtain civil rights. 

In truth, because of these courageous children, I (as a child of the 1980s) am a part of the first generation of Americans to be born with full-fledged legal rights and protections against discrimination (like UN-fair housing)  on the basis of the “Big 7” that we all have a right to today. That should be mind-boggling to realize this is such recent history, particularly for those younger than me.

How remarkable it is to know that today’s young people do not know the version of the United States of America that did not have legal protections for the “Big 7” (we know enforcement is a different conversation that we will discuss in upcoming podcasts).

In that vein and in honor of Black History Month in February, please check out one of the stories of the child participants — my dad. My retelling of his story from that time was published by the aptly named BitterSweet, a complimentary publication of the fast-growing community dedicated to racial healing, Coming to the Table).

Learn more about his story here: The Fresh Prince of … Detroit?!?!

A moment of silence

All of those children were courageous unsung heroes in my figurative book, and I wish we could name more of them. Thus, as you read, and share my dad’s story, I ask that you hold space and perhaps even have a moment of silence for all of the unnamed children who were willing to be martyrs for the generations to come.

Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker, trainer and coach. Follow her on YouTube or visit her website.

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