On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.
As a result, riots ensued in the biggest urban centers nationwide. The show of angst forced Congress to press the gas pedal on the last of three laws that became his legacy.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act were enacted while King was still alive. However, the act of defiance by enraged folks of color pushed The Fair Housing Act through.
One week later, on April 11th, the Fair Housing Act was signed into law after being stalled in the House Rules Committee.
There has always been two Americas. The slaveholding history has never been atoned and the issues that divide the country are more pronounced than ever. During Dr. King’s time, basic life tenets, that we have the luxury of taking for granted today, were not in place.
Racial redlining in federal mortgage insurance. Real estate covenants that restricted home buyers by race. Steerage by real estate agents in certain neighborhoods by the racial makeup of the home seeker.
There is a storm brewing that could undo all that Dr. King stood for and ultimately lost his life over. A new conservative bloc on the Supreme Court views these advancements as outdated “racial entitlements”.
The Federalist Movement
Now that Justice Brett Kavanaugh has joined the Supreme Court, the high court has five firmly conservative judges. The judges are all from The Federalist Society, historically a vetting pool for conservative ideological thinkers.
The Federalist Society is an organization of conservatives and libertarians seeking reform of the current legal system of the United States in accordance with a textualist or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
Founded in 1982 as a law student group, it is one of the nation’s most influential legal organizations. During Ronald Reagan’s second term, then-Attorney General Edwin Meese hired staffers on the basis of ideological commitment.
Meese sought to groom young conservative lawyers who would later become federal court judges.
Fast-forward to George W. Bush’s presidency in 2001, the conservative legal movement dominated judicial appointments. Brett Kavanaugh—now a Supreme Court Justice—was then in charge of judicial selection. By 2005, the Federalist Society anointed conservatives John Roberts and Samuel Alito were in the highest court of the land.
Enemies On All Fronts
Since Dr. King’s assassination, the Fair Housing law has suffered from neglect and we live in a still-segregated nation. Although there’s increased analysis by people of color whether integration helped our communities, the principle of inclusion is valid.
Lawmakers are not concerned with stamping out systemic racism. Look no further than Iowa Representative Steve King, who questioned why the words “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” were offensive.
Other than demoting him from key committee’s, King is still here representing the interests of an entire State where folks of color reside.
Donald Trump’s smokescreen parade of celebrities of color and blatant demonization of Mexican immigrants prove the prevailing outlook. Dr. King’s legacy is merely a pawn for a bigger game of civil rights erosion.