Fighting for Fair Housing: A conference on the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act


Location: Notre Dame Law School


In 1950 a group of African Americans, at a Studebaker factory in South Bend, Indiana, met in secret with a courageous mission: to stand up against entrenched and federally supported housing segregation. They created the non-profit organization Better Homes of South Bend. After a struggle of four years, the group managed to build twenty-two homes in a white neighborhood  and create a vibrant community there.

Over a decade later in Chicago, residents were still fighting for fair housing. Unable to obtain traditional loans, they were forced to buy homes under contract with highly inflated prices and when they couldn’t make the ever increasing payments, they were simply ejected. In January 1968, residents and activists organized the Contract Buyers League. The group fought hard in the courts and on the streets until they were able to renegotiate their abusive contracts. Later that year, the Fair Housing Act was enacted, outlawing housing discrimination across the United States.

The Fighting for Fair Housing Conference marks the 50th anniversary of this act. We look back at the discriminatory policies that inspired the act, and we discuss the act itself, what it has accomplished and the challenges of today. Academics, housing advocates, attorneys and community members will come together in a call to action to once again tackle the issues of housing discrimination.

CLE credit

Indiana attorneys who attend “Fighting for Fair Housing: A conference on the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act” will be eligible to receive 9.5 Continuing Legal Education credits.

Please use this form to register for your credits.

9:30 am: Panel: The Fair Housing Act Today

McCartan Courtroom, Eck Hall of Law

Michael Seng, co-executive director of The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Support Center and Fair Housing Legal Clinic, John Marshall Law School

Sarah Mancini, Atlanta Legal Aid and the National Consumer Law Center

Amy Nelson, Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana

12:00 pm:  Keynote: Symbolic Racism and the Discrimination that Follows

McCartan Courtroom, Eck Hall of Law

Elijah Anderson, William K. Lanman Jr. Professor of Sociology and Professor of African American Studies at Yale University

1:00 pm: Break

2:00 pm:  Panel: Mapping Discrimination

Room 1140, Eck Hall of Law

Kirsten Delegard, director, Mapping Prejudice Project, University of Minnesota

Penny Petersen, author and historical researcher

Kevin Ehrman-Solberg, graduate student, University of Minnesota

3:00 pm:  Panel: Where do we go from here?

An open discussion with policy makers, academics and local residents on what discrimination looks like today and how we combat it.

“Fighting for Fair Housing” is sponsored by The Department of Africana Studies  /  The Center for Civil and Human Rights  /  The Center for Social Concerns  /  IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center  /  Notre Dame Clinical Law Center  /  St. Joseph Bar Foundation

Originally published at