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Racial Discrimination in the Sale and Rental of Property

Historically, African-Americans have been subjected to racial discrimination throughout society. One of the more problematic areas of racial discrimination involved the sale and rental of property. Historically, White Americans refused to either sell or rent property to African Americans. Over the years, African-Americans have sought redress of these problems through the federal courts. The seminal case that illustrates this problem is Jones v. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409 (1968).

In this case, Mr. Joseph Lee Jones was not allowed to buy property from a White American due to his race. Mr. Jones filed a complaint before the District Court against Alfred H. Mayer Co. praying for injunctive relief. Mr. Jones alleged in the complaint that the racial discrimination preventing him from buying property is violative of 42 USC § 1982 which reads:

“All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.”

The District Court dismissed the complaint. The Court of Appeals held that Section 1982 is applicable only to state owned/managed properties and not to private individuals selling their private properties. The United States Supreme Court ruled in Mr. Jones’s favor.

The United States Supreme Court ruled that Section 1982 is applicable to all kinds of racial discrimination in the sale and rental of properties whether the property is state owned/managed or owned by private individuals. The Court also ruled that Section 1982 was enacted with the intention to grant legal rights to Black Americans to buy and rent properties without restriction. The Court further ruled that Section 1982 is in line with the reading of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The Court determined that depriving Blacks from buying properties from White Americans is analogous to continuing with the vestiges of slavery in direct conflict with the Congressional intent which was to abolish slavery and eradicate its existence from society. Moreover, the Court determined that removing the hurdles for Blacks to own properties is entirely consistent with the Congressional intent as legislated in Section 1982.

If your rights to sell and rent real and personal property are being violated contact The Sanders Firm, P.C. in New York. We will review your claims thoroughly, providing you with an outline of possible actions you may wish to take. We are ready to be your voice for justice.