Washington, D.C. – Former Vice President Walter Mondale, an outspoken supporter of civil rights and co-author of the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968, which sought to end racial discrimination in housing and create inclusive communities, died yesterday at the age of 93.
Center for Responsible Lending Executive Vice President Nikitra Bailey issued the following statement:
Vice President Walter Mondale was a giant of civil rights while in the U.S. Senate and during some of the most significant, contentious moments in our nation’s history. The introduction of the Fair Housing Act — and its passage as the Civil Rights Act of 1968 — would not have been possible without his leadership, courage, and moral compass. He consistently championed the law, including when it was threatened by the previous administration, and he fought to ensure that all Americans could benefit from its promise.
The Fair Housing Act was a major step toward realizing the ideals of justice and equal opportunity in our nation. The legislation is among the most significant we have seen in this lifetime and prevails as the final great legislative achievement of the civil rights era. Then-Senator Mondale understood the enormity of ‘separate and unequal,’ and the need to eradicate local, state, and federal housing policies that mandated segregation — no matter how subtle.
In 1984, that same fortitude led him to the daring selection of the first female and first Italian-American running mate on a major party ticket. In doing so, he signaled that ‘We the people’ encompasses everyone. This was in keeping with his commitment to opening doors for those oftentimes marginalized and underrepresented.
Housing discrimination remains pervasive, and today’s national Black homeownership rate is at levels similar to when the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968. In Vice President Mondale’s home state of Minnesota, where Derek Chauvin is awaiting the jury’s verdict on the murder of George Floyd, the Black/white homeownership gap (24% versus 77%) is among the highest in the nation according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. The Center for Responsible Lending will do its part to honor Vice President Mondale’s legacy by preserving the tenets of the law of which he was instrumental — ensuring that we overturn and remedy discriminatory housing practices.
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