Megan Haberle* & Philip Tegeler**
In this essay, we assess the prospects for more coordinated government efforts to address housing and school segregation at the federal, state and local level. We conclude that multiple barriers to concerted action at the federal and local level, particularly to addressing racial and economic segregation across local boundaries, suggest a more central role for state governments than has previously been the case. State-level laws and programs can succeed as drivers of integration in a way that is distinct from either federal or local interventions, because of the state’s direct control over the key policies that drive modern school and housing segregation.
* Deputy Director of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (“PRRAC”), a civil rights policy organization based in the District of Columbia. J.D. 2008, Columbia Law School.
** Executive Director of PRRAC. J.D., 1982, Columbia Law School.
The authors are grateful for the helpful input they received from Nestor Davidson, Olatunde Johnson, Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, and Elizabeth DeBray, and the support of the Ford Foundation, the Intercultural Development Research Association, and the National Education Association for PRRAC’s recent work connecting housing and school integration policy.
The Hon. L. Douglas Wilder*
I think sometimes you need to wonder where we were in 1968. It wasn’t just the Fair Housing Act that was passed in 1968. What happened in 1968? George Wallace was running for presi- dent. Hubert Humphrey was running for president, and Richard Nixon as well. It wasn’t just the assassination of Dr. King, we al- so had the assassination of Robert Kennedy. We likewise had the Vietnam War, and America was a mess. We had something else occurring in 1968. That was the Kerner Commission Report, that Dr. Crutcher mentioned had been instrumental in the fair hous- ing bill. And they made recommendations. I happened to have been a part of that last month in Minnesota, and had great occa- sion to talk with Fred Harris, who was the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission, Senator from Oklahoma. And also, Walter Mondale and I had a long time to talk.
* Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1990–1994. Professor, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University. This Keynote Address was delivered by the author at the 2018 University of Richmond Law Review Symposium, The 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act—Past, Present, and Future, on October 5, 2018, at the University of Richmond School of Law.