It has been 50 years since the Fair Housing Act made discrimination in buying and selling homes illegal. Fifty years since Edward Brooke, the first African-American senator from Massachusetts, testified that upon his return from World War II, no one would sell him a home because of his race. And 50 years since the act was passed, without debate, just one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. But even after 50 years, there’s still discrimination and scheming against minorities who wish to own homes.
Notre Dame Law professor Judy Fox is fighting to combat predatory lending and contract for deed, or rent-to-own, schemes that are prevalent in minority neighborhoods. Last year, in Illinois, she was instrumental in passing statewide legislation against these contracts. Similar efforts are underway in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. And at the Notre Dame Economic Justice Clinic, she’s also fighting individual cases.