History of the Civil Rights movement By Cristina Vignone
In the early twentieth century “city governments put the force of law behind residential segregation through racial zoning” throughout the country, making housing an index for race relations. Though segregation of residential areas was found unconstitutional in 1917, real estate brokers, political leaders and bankers illegally continued to oppose integration. Following the Great Migration of African Americans from the south, which began around 1910 and lasted until the 1970s, millions of black Americans arrived in the north and were forced to live in “deteriorating, overcrowded housing.”
The fair housing movement demanded integration, but many white citizens opposed it in fear of mixing what they perceived as radically different cultures, values and points of view.
President Johnson’s promise of a “Great Society” for all Americans included the elimination of discrimination in housing. Despite continuous protest—the President received “‘vicious mail’” when he attempted to pass a housing bill in 1966 while white homeowners continued to violently enforce segregation in many neighborhoods—Title VIII of the Civil Rights, or Fair Housing, Act of 1968 passed on April 11, seven days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It prohibited discrimination in the advertisement, terms and conditions, or sale and rental of dwellings “because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin.” President Johnson knew the Fair Housing Act would not eradicate the problems of racism and discrimination in the United States.
But he did believe it was a step in the direction of attaining social justice for African Americans: “‘This is a victory for every American. …The only true path to progress for a free people is the one we will take when this legislation is made the law of the land. …Through the process of law, we shall strike for all time the shackles of an old injustice.’” In the following Special Message to the Congress on January 24, 1968, President Johnson decries segregation’s role in compounding social and economic problems for the nation’s minorities.
Special Message to the Congress on Civil Rights
 Jonathan Birnbaum and Clarence Taylor, eds., A. Civil Rights Since 1787: A Reader on the Black Struggle (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 670-1.
 Ibid, 671. In Buchanan v. Warley, the Supreme Court prohibited state inhibition of the occupancy, purchase and sale of property based on the color of the proposed occupant: “We think this attempt to prevent the alienation of the property in question to a person of color was not a legitimate exercise of the police power of the state, and is in direct violation of the fundamental law enacted in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution preventing state interference with property rights except by due process of law.” Wikisource, "United States Supreme Court 245 U.S. 60 BUCHANAN v. WARLEY Argued: April 10 and 11, 1916," http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Buchanan_v._Warley/Opinion_of_the_Court
 Charles M. Lamb, Housing segregation in suburban America since 1960: presidential and 27
 State of the Union Addresses by United States Presidents. State of the Union Addresses by Lyndon B. Johnson January 8, 1964; January 4, 1965; January 12, 1966; January 10, 1967; January 17, 1968; and January 14, 1969, “State of the Union Address Lyndon B. Johnson January 4, 1965,” A Penn State Electronic Classics Series Publication (University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University, 2003),16. http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/poldocs/uspressu/SUaddressLBJohnson.pdf
 42 U.S.C. § 3604 : US Code - Section 3604: Discrimination in the sale or rental of housing and other prohibited practices http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/42/45/I/3604
 "On This Day in History: April," Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, http://www.lbjlibrary.org/collections/on-this-day-in-history/april.html