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The Civil Rights Act of 1866

Following the Civil War, Congress passed a series of laws to implement the Thirteenth Amendment banning slavery and to eliminate its vestiges. One of these laws, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, banned discrimination in the sale, transfer, lease or use of property, including real estate and housing. All citizens were granted the same rights enjoyed by white citizens in the use, purchase, lease, transfer, etc., of real estate and property. In 1968, in Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., the United States Supreme Court held that the 1866 Act prohibits all forms of racial discrimination in real estate whether committed by government or private parties. Persons suing under the 1866 Act are entitled to recover actual and punitive damages, and their attorneys’ fees and costs.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 is codified today in 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 1982. It is still relevant today because it is both broader and narrower than the Fair Housing Act. It is restricted to cases involving racial discrimination, but it covers all properties both real and personal and is not limited to “dwellings” and the exemptions of the Fair Housing Act do not apply. Also, the 1866 Act has its own remedies and adopts state statutes of limitations.

42 U.S.C. § 1981: Equal Rights Under the Law

(a) Statement of equal rights
All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.

(b) “Make and enforce contracts” defined
For purposes of this section, the term “make and enforce contracts” includes the making, performance, modification, and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship.

(c) Protection against impairment
The rights protected by this section are protected against impairment by non-governmental discrimination and impairment under color of State law.

42 U.S.C. § 1982: Property Rights of Citizens

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.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Section 109 of Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974

Section 109 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or religion in programs and activities receiving financial assistance from HUD’s Community Development and Block Grant Program.

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Title II prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs, services, and activities provided or made available by public entities. HUD enforces Title II when it relates to state and local public housing, housing assistance and housing referrals.

Architectural Barriers Act of 1968

The Architectural Barriers Act requires that buildings and facilities designed, constructed, altered, or leased with certain federal funds after September 1969 must be accessible to and useable by handicapped persons.

Age Discrimination Act of 1975

The Age Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

The Housing and Community Development Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. § 1436a

The Housing and Community Development Act restricts certain immigrants from subsidized housing programs and housing voucher programs.

 The Welfare Reform Act of 1996, 8 U.S.C. § 1611(c)(B)

The Welfare Reform Act restricts certain immigrants from designated federally funded programs.

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