Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



A generation has passed since the legislative victories of the 1960s extending civil rights protection: twenty-five years since the passage of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964,1 twenty-four years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act, and twenty-one years since the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. As we enter the second generation of civil rights enforcement under new Presidential leadership it is important to assess the state of civil rights, to examine the experience of first generation enforcement and the promises of the second generation.

The state of civil rights in the area of housing is a mixture of both frustration and hope. Unlike the extraordinary advances in integrating public accommodations, the workplace, and the political system, the Nation's housing has been largely ignored. Although an increasing number of blacks are present in America's suburbs and predominantly white neighborhoods, the stark pattern of racial residential segregation has worsened. America is more segregated--physically separated by race--today than at any time in its history.