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Owners and Realtors. Walter Sowell, a Negro who was Superintendent Engineer with the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority, testified at the Cleveland hearing that he had "looked over the entire Cuyahoga County" for a home and a neighborhood within his means. He was told on the phone that he could not buy a house because he was Negro, "but never face to face . . . there were a lot of excuses given. [T]he second call or third call, usually the house was sold or something happened and it was transferred to another real estate company. "120 He further testified that


being in housing for 21 years or most of my life, know-
ing something about prices, we would see a house listed
for, say, $18,000.

We know this particular house was built by a particular
builder and we see them all over the city. It was $18,000.
When it got to me, it was $23,000 or $24,000.1


Mrs. Allie Anderson, a welfare mother, told the Commission at the Cleveland hearing that she had been refused apartments while looking for a new apartment on Cleveland's East Side:

[M]ost of the decent places they don't want colored, and
especially over in the Shaw and Hayden area they would
tell me the place was taken, or even that they weren't
accepting the Negroes now."


The Commission heard testimony that many real estate agents avoid showing Negroes homes in "white" areas. Leonard Simmons, a Negro graduate student and faculty member at Western Reserve University, told the Commission that real estate agents

.. only show you homes that are available in Negro areas or areas that are predominantly Negro or where there are large numbers of Negroes. They say they would be quite willing to show a prospective buyer a home in any area. Unfortunately, the owner is not willing to sell to the Negro buyer. This is what the real estate agent tells the buyer. This is what they told me. I then came across a real estate agent who happened to own the home I was interested in. He told me the same thing. I said you own this home so you can't say the owner is unwilling to sell to a Negro. He told me: "You wouldn't be happy in this neighborhood." He was very concerned about my happiness!

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Other testimony in Cleveland suggested that there were agreements between Negro and white real estate agents to confine Negroes to particular areas. Robert Crumpler, describing his attempt to purchase a home in a "white" area, testified:

We called very many times. . . . If you called about a
house that is listed with...a [white] real estate dealer,
the telephone girl answers and says there is no one at the
office at this time that can tell you about this particular
property but we will have him call you back, and some-
how they never called back. I think earlier the gentleman
mentioned a crisscross directory where they have tele-
phone numbers by streets. If you are living on Ansel you
are either a Negro or Polish and if you decided to stay in
that area, then you are not much more desirable than the
Negro, so several days later we got a call from a Negro
real estate dealer who just happened to have some nice
property in a fringe area that would be available to

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Mrs. Robert Golter and Mrs. Sheldon Kurland-white real estate agents in Nashville-described for the Tennessee State Advisory Committee the practices of real estate agents in Nashville. Mrs. Golter stated:

When I received my license to sell real estate a year ago,
I had very few thoughts about the problems, possibilities
and challenges of finding comfortable, attractive homes
for Negroes. When a friend who was Negro indicated
her desire to buy a home, I asked one of the partners of the
company the policy. He indicated that I could sell to a
Negro only if there was another Negro family in the
block. I began searching for such a block. The search was
disappointing indeed. . . . After I talked with a half
dozen agents about selling one of their listings to a Negro
I learned over and over again that this not only did not
get me into the house, in some instances, it eliminated
the possibility of my ever showing any of that company's
listings to any client.125

Mrs. Kurland said that most white realtors with whom she had talked would find a home for a Negro buyer in an already integrated section, but not in an all-white neighborhood because "the whites wouldn't stand [for] the situation.” 128

Finance Industry. Discriminatory practices are indulged in by representatives of the finance industry as well. In San Francisco, the Commission heard charges that lending institutions in some areas would "not make first mortgages to racial minorities who move outside of prescribed areas. . . "127 James P. Brown, representing the Atlanta Savings and Loan Association, told the Georgia State Advisory Committee that his Association would be "reluctant" to make a loan to a Negro who wanted to purchase a home in an all-white neighborhood because "it might—and it has caused discord—and reflects upon us in some way." Mr. Brown stated:

We like to keep things pleasant and we like to keep our
community more-or-less stable. I mean by that, all finance
people feel like this. We have a nice, pretty neighborhood
and everything's working fine, we want to keep every-
body happy and keep it like that, and not antagonize
them or stir them up and it seems to do that, so in answer
to... [the question], it would be with reluctance.128

Builders. Builders, particularly large scale tract developers in the suburbs, also have contributed to keeping Negroes out of white neighborhoods. In Daly City, Calif., the enormous Serramonte housing development, which eventually will provide moderate priced housing for approximately 20,000 residents, was picketed by demonstrators protesting its alleged all-white sales policies. Although the picketing resulted in agreement that discriminatory practices would cease, at the Commission's Bay Area hearing testimony was heard that there were no Negroes living in Serramonte and discriminatory practices were continuing.12

As a consequence of these practices, for many Negro families house hunting is a long, discouraging, humiliating experience. Mrs. Merlin Reid, a Negro resident of Boston, told the Commission's Massachusetts State Advisory Committee:

We... approached another agent, in the same town in
reference to houses advertised in the daily newspapers.
We were politely shown those houses which were in poor
condition, or by some coincidence were already sold....
We finally decided to try another town. The agents, it
seemed, were waiting for us at the door. We received the
same polite treatment and we departed with the same
feeling of degradation....180

Complaint-oriented State fair housing laws may provide a remedy but only at the price of a substantial investment of time, effort and

expense. Asked whether he had complained to the agency responsible for administering the Ohio Fair Housing Law, Walter Sowell replied that he had not:

...I was like a lot of other people-you sort of lose

patience when you are losing money, you are losing time,
you have a job...."


Role of Government. Local governments often engage in practices which contribute to housing segregation or fail to seize opportunities to reduce it. Some of these practices and omissions were revealed at the hearings and open meetings.

Daly City and the company which was building Serramonte had entered into an annexation agreement by which the city agreed to provide certain municipal services to Serramonte. The Mayor of Daly City, Bernard Lycett, testified that Daly City, in return, would derive substantial benefits including tax revenue from having annexed the tract. Despite this agreement, the city authorities felt there was nothing the city could do to induce Serramonte to abandon its discriminatory housing policy."


Planning agencies often fail to consider means of preventing new ghettos from developing. Ferris Deep, Director of the Metropolitan Planning Commission in Nashville, told the Tennessee State Advisory Committee that the Planning Commission, in planning for the city's development, neither attempts to avoid creation of racial ghettos nor to break up concentrations of people of low income.133 Thus, the Planning Commission was oblivious to such matters in locating public housing projects.1


In 1966, the Commission's New Jersey State Advisory Committee was told that 16 years after passage of the New Jersey law prohibiting discrimination in housing, four of Newark's 13 public housing developments were 90 to 99 percent Negro. Of three housing developments for the elderly opened in Newark in 1965, one was 97 percent white, one was 95 percent white, and one was 92 percent Negro.135 Similarly, although racial designations have been removed from the public housing projects in Nashville, 12 of the 14 low-rent public housing projects there are more than 99 percent Negro or 99 percent white.136

Louis Danzig, Executive Director of the Newark Housing Authority, was asked at an open meeting to explain why he had referred to two predominantly white public housing projects as "the country club projects." He answered:

[T]he reason they are called country club projects is that
they are on the periphery of the city, and one is right

opposite Branch Brook Park and the other is practically
in the suburbs....187

In Cleveland, the Commission found that at the time of its hearing in 1966, seven of the 11 public housing projects were either more than 90 percent Negro or more than 90 percent white.138 In the 20 years of its existence, no Negro ever had been assigned to the 100 percent white Riverside Park development. Asked if a Negro had ever been offered a unit in Riverside, Ernest Bohn, Director of the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority, replied:

No unit has been offered to them at Riverside, it is near the
airport as you know. It is in the heart of a home-owner-
ship area, all white, and since so many Negroes have
refused to live in a racially integrated place on the West
Side, we have not offered any to the best of my knowl-
edge, and I checked this quite recently with the applica-
tions office, no Negro has expressed a desire to live at

At the open meeting in Boston, Rev. Gilbert Avery, pastor of a church in Roxbury, described the situation at the Mission Hill and the Mission Hill Extension public housing projects. He reported:

When I came here five years ago there were 1,024 white
families in the Mission Hill Project and no Negro fam-
ilies. At the Mission Hill Extension there were 580 fam-
ilies of which 500 were Negro. These two projects are
across the street from each other and they have the same
manager and are considered as one project. But I have
heard six and seven year old children refer to them as the
white and Negro projects. Parker Street which divides
the two projects is like the Berlin Wall. In 1962 the hous-
ing authority was going to desegregate the projects but to-
day the white project is still 97 percent white and the
Negro project has risen to 98 percent Negro. In the
rental office there are two windows, one for Mission Hill
and one for the Extension, and except for the absence of
two signs saying "white" and "colored" it might be Bir-
mingham, Alabama. There is literally a line of whites
and a line of Negroes paying their rent.""


Local governments contribute to racially segregated housing patterns in other ways. The Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority is one of the few public housing agencies with the authority to construct and operate public housing in the surrounding suburbs. Yet

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