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The Housing Opportunities Commission is proud to celebrate Black History Month. This national month of recognition allows us to reflect on the richness and depth of achievements made by African Americans throughout history. We aim to honor the strength, resilience and creativity that are central to the culture and experience of Black people in the U.S. As a salute to the pioneering spirit of the African American community, we invite you to read below about notable trailblazers who have made important contributions to housing.

“During this Black History Month, and for many to come, we must never forget the dream—and fight for a new inheritance, one woven not of exclusion but instead of that universal human spirit that calls us each home.” – Dr. Raphael Bostic

 

William Warley

Buchanan v. Warley

 

William Warley was a civil rights activist and editor of the Louisville News, which he founded in 1913, using the paper to speak out against segregated street cars and school inequality. In 1917, Warley was also president of the NAACP Louisville, KY Chapter. In 1915, he entered into a contract to purchase property in a predominantly white area of Louisville from Charles H. Buchanan. When a Louisville ordinance blocked the sale to Warley, Buchanan sued arguing the ordinance enforcing state-sponsored racial segregation was unconstitutional. In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that racial zoning laws were a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment--affirming that the state could not deprive any person of their property or limit their ability to  dispose of their property without due process of law. The decision in Buchanan v. Warley was considered a crucial fist step toward ending racial discrimination in housing in the U.S.