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.