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MLK on Federal Housing Bill: “Constitutionally Sound, Morally Right”

Nov. 20, 1962 - Negro and Northern spokesmen said today that President Kennedy’s order barring discrimination in Federally aided housing could lead to a “truly integrated society.” Dr. Martin Luther King (pictured left with Jackie Robinson) said: “It is not only constitutionally sound, but it is morally right.” “The order strikes at the very heart of the segregated system,” Dr. King said. “Where a family lives precludes the schools, parks, and churches its members will attend. Integrated housing is the primary means by which we will have a truly integrated society.” Senator John Stennis (D-Miss.), on the other hand, said he would do “all within my power” to secure a revision of the order, which he called “an audacious usurpation of power by the Executive branch.” “The Executive seeks to invade the sacred province of the home and destroy the right of every American to choose his own associates,” Stennis said. Senator Jacob K. Javits (R-N.Y.), who had been urging Mr. Kennedy to sign the order, said it should have come “long ago.” “But nevertheless, I support it now,” Javits said. “It is most welcome and gratifying.”


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