MI Black History: Making a Home

Q: What happened when Orsel McGhee and his family bought a house at 4626 Seebaldt St. in Detroit?

A: Their neighbor sued to have them evicted, based on a race-restrictive covenant for the neighborhood. These covenants stipulated that homeowners were not allowed to sell their house to certain kinds of people, most often blacks and Jews. With the help of the NAACP and one of its attorneys — Thurgood Marshall — the McGhee family challenged the use of restrictive covenants all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which merged this case along with the similar Shelley v. Kramer case in 1948. The Supreme Court ruled that these covenants were not enforceable, and the ruling was seen as a blow to Jim Crow laws. However, restrictive covenants remained a challenge to fair housing until Congress passed the Open Housing law in 1968.

BHM leaderboard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s