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The Unfinished Journey Towards Fair Housing: Milestones

Explore the milestones of the fair housing movement and then return to learn more about the two leaders that shared this goal.


  • January 7 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Announces the Chicago Campaign for open housing as a massive nonviolent movement to change substandard housing in the city.

    I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hateful as I've seen here in Chicago. Yes, it's definitely a closed society. We're going to make it an open society.
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1966, to reporters as he stripped off his tie and vowed to continue demonstrating

  • January 12 - In his State of the Union Address before Congress, President Lyndon B. Johnson spoke to growing civil rights strife, and called for federal legislation that would “prohibit racial discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.”

    Justice means a man’s hope should not be limited by the color of his skin.
    President Lyndon B. Johnson, State of the Union Address

  • January 26 - Dr. King and his family moved into a Chicago apartment at 1550 South Hamlin Avenue to draw attention to substandard housing conditions.
  • July 10 - "Freedom Sunday" - A rally at Chicago’s Soldier field was attended by 45,000 people. The event launched efforts to make Chicago an "open city" for housing.

    This day we must declare our own Emancipation Proclamation. This day we must commit ourselves to make any sacrifice necessary to change Chicago. This day we must decide to fill up the jails of Chicago, if necessary, in order to end slums.
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1966
    Photo: Martin Luther King, Jr. at Rally on Soldier Field, Chicago (Freedom Sunday) (Chicago Urban League Photos)

  • July 18-23 – Summer riots in Chicago, Cleveland, and Omaha lead to National Guardsmen being called in to quell the violence.
  • August 5 – Marquette Park March Turns into Riot - Hostile whites throw bricks, bottles, and stones at protesters as they march through Marquette Park, a white neighborhood in Chicago.
  • August 26 – At a Chicago summit Meeting with Mayor Richard J. Daley and Black Leaders, Dr. King encountered opposition from Mayor Richard J. Daley in his push for open housing.


  • May 1 - October 1 - Dr. King speaks out against the violence that took the lives of 43 people in a series of riots across the country.
  • June 23 - Dr. King’s book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? is published.


  • Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ Library)
    March 28 – Dr. King leads a march in Memphis, accompanied by striking sanitation workers seeking improved wages and working conditions.
  • April 3 – Dr. King delivers his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop Speech” in a Memphis rally held at Mason Temple, the national headquarters of the Church of God in Christ.
  • April 4 – The U.S. Senate passes its Fair Housing bill that was co-sponsored by Senators Walter Mondale of Minnesota and Edward Brooke of Massachusetts. Later that same day, a sniper’s bullet kills Dr. King on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
  • April 9 – The funeral is held for Dr. King at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • April 10 – The U.S. House of Representatives passes the bill and forwards it to President Johnson.
  • April 11 – President Johnson signs the legislation that banned discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing.