Today is MLK Day, honoring one of most influential civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Looking back on Dr. King’s many timeless contributions to our society, it is important to note the legacy he left not only in society but the impact he has had on real estate.
Dr. King moved to Chicago in the summer of 1966 and participated in a series of marches, appealing to the city’s real estate practitioners, to end discriminatory housing practices. Through his actions he was able to demand open housing, which led to the 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act. The Act declared a national policy of fair housing throughout the United States. The law makes illegal any discrimination in the sale, lease or rental of housing, or making housing otherwise unavailable, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.
Such a law has changed the real estate business for the better. No longer can families be discriminated against for petty things, and all are given an equal chance for better housing. The National Associations of REALTORS® is also committed to civil rights and making the American Dream available for everyone. King’s call for fair housing was incorporated into the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Article 10 states,
“REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. REALTORS®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
While today is the day we celebrate Dr. King’s legacy, let this not be the only day that his work inspires us. Where you can make a difference, pledge to seek action and let Dr. King’s words be something to live by.
Let us be motivated by Dr. King and his influential words, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”