1950-1970: The Fight for Fair Housing

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. leads Detroit’s Walk to Freedom in June 1963 (from Detroit Historical Society)


“I have a dream this afternoon that one day right here in Detroit, Negroes will be able to buy a house or rent a house anywhere that their money will carry them and they will be able to get a job.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. “March to Freedom,” Cobo Hall, Detroit, June 22, 1963


“Land is the basis of all economic security. Land is essential to freedom, justice, and equality. Land is essential to true independence.”

– Malcolm X, October 11, 1963, in a speech at the University of California, Berkeley


Destructive policies like redlining were recognized and resisted by local organizations in Detroit. Because these struggles were so often unsuccessful due to the strength of the forces they opposed, they have often been forgotten. Even if community groups were sometimes unable to grasp the systematic nature of the “production of decline,” they were certainly aware of the aspects of the system that touched them most directly. Their many examples of resistance will be recovered in this chapter. The people of Detroit were not helpless pawns in an all-powerful system of financial exploitation.


This chapter is still under construction.
See story map in Chapter 1 for work sample of what this chapter could become.


1960 Population Density Dot Map

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