The Case That Struck Down Racist Housing Laws

Hands shaking in front of house
Via Pxfuel
Leslie Taylor-Grover
October 20, 2020

William Warley was overjoyed. He was finally able to purchase the plot of land upon which he would build his home! But his joy was short lived. Why?

It was 1917, and Warley had purchased land from a white man. Unbeknownst to him, Warley’s new land was located in a racist neighborhood – and his new white neighbors had created a local ordinance that prohibited Black people from moving in! 

What could Warley do now?

He refused to pay for the land. After all, why should he pay for land he couldn’t live on? 

Of course, the seller sued him for breach of contract – but this case was much more than a simple civil lawsuit.

The suit posed an important question about race: were our people truly equal to whites? Was Warley entitled to live anywhere he wanted, like an American citizen should? 

Soon it was up to the Supreme Court. What would they decide?

Black people are indeed equal before the law, and any law that indicated otherwise was unconstitutional! Warley was seeking to build a home, but instead his cased helped reduce legal discrimination. 

So often we are mistreated because we are unaware of our rights. But we have a right to own land and take up space wherever we want, racists’ illegal desires be damned!

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