I wish there was a Heaven, so John Lewis could be in it.

They said he was the conscience of congress. We’ve lost our conscience, and our heart.

“I want to see young people in America feel the spirit of the 1960s and find a way to get in the way. To find a way to get in trouble. Good trouble, necessary trouble.” I used this quote just because I see this country becoming more and more horrible every day and I do nothing. Yesterday Trump went full-on racist, not making even the least effort to disguise it. I think it’s very important people know Trump’s personal history behind the words he said.

For the past five months I’ve been researching the history of housing desegregation, and the effects of redlining, blockbusting, and the efforts (often violent) to keep people of color out of the suburbs. I focused on 1968 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 to present. The Civil Rights Act of 1968 is also known as the Fair Housing Act.

Yesterday Trump said this. He’s using the exact same words and logic employed by 20th century racists, and his 20th century racist self. He was talking about the AFFH rule (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing), which was part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and was established to prohibit housing discrimination.

“Your home will go down in value and crime rates will rapidly rise,” he said. “Joe Biden and his bosses from the radical left want to significantly multiply what they’re doing now and what will be the end result is you will totally destroy the beautiful suburbs. Suburbia will be no longer as we know it.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 is something Trump is personally acquainted with. In response to a 1973 Justice Department case against Trump Management for racial discrimination, Donald Trump complained of being forced to “rent to welfare recipients.” Trump Management counter-sued and the case was settled in 1975, requiring Trump Management to provide a list of vacant apartments to the New York Urban League, to train their staff about the Fair Housing Act, and to place ads for two years informing the community that they would be abiding by the Act. He’s probably been stewing about this ever since and now he’s talking about undoing some of the greatest legislation of our lifetimes, something John Lewis would have fought with everything he had.

I should stop playing it safe. I should get in good trouble. Rest in peace, John Lewis.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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