Skip to main content

National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, Inc. records

Identifier: 266

Scope and Contents

The records of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing (NCADH) (1945-1974) consist of documentation for the establishment and administration of the organization, its programs and projects, as well as legal activities. Correspondence makes up approximately a fourth of the collection and covers the years 1948 to 1974. The administrative records, financial and corporate, include memoranda, agenda, minutes, and personnel records. The collection documents NCADH’s programs and research studies through files of articles, directories, newsletters, pamphlets, periodicals, reports, and speeches, as well as photographs and news clippings.

The main topic covered within the records is housing discrimination and its impact on race relations in the United States.

Civil rights organizations represented throughout the collection include the American Civil Liberties Union, The American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Association of Intergroup Relations.

Prominent correspondents include Charles Abrams, Algernon Black, Frank S. Horne, Stanley M. Isaacs, Shad Polier, Edward Rutledge, and Jack E. Wood.


  • Created: 1945-1974
  • Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1976


Conditions Governing Access

The records of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing are open and available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to these papers has not been assigned to the Amistad Research Center. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.

Historical Note

The National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing was incorporated in New York on April 20, 1950.

The National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing (NCADH) was created as a nonprofit, independent research organization in 1950 to sponsor and conduct research in the field of housing for minorities, and to enlist the cooperation of government, real estate interests, and community leaders in eliminating discrimination in housing. Principal founders of the organization were Charles Abrams, Algernon Black, Dorothy S. Austrian, Hortense Gabel, Katherine Morton, Ira S. Robbins, and Robert C. Weaver.

In 1956, the NCADH began lobbying for a federal executive order banning discrimination in publicly supported housing. The organization began publishing Trends in Housing, a publication highlighting exclusively news in the housing and civil rights field. In 1957, the New York state legislature considered the first bill in the nation prohibiting discrimination in private housing, and the first city ban on discrimination in private housing was established in New York City that same year. Following success in New York, in 1959 Colorado was the first state to enact fair housing practices legislation in the country.

President John F. Kennedy credited the NCADH in 1962 for its role in the development of Executive Order 11063, which banned discrimination in federally supported housing. Operation Open City, an innovative metropolitan open housing center in New York City, was developed by the NCADH in 1964. That same year the National Legal Conference on Equal Opportunity in Housing, which was co-sponsored by the NCADH, devised a legal strategy to combat anti-fair housing referenda.

In 1965, the NCADH sponsored the Capahosic (Virginia) Conference. The conference developed the concept of a national metropolitan open housing movement, which led to the establishment of a housing component in the federal anti-poverty program. That same year the NCADH received a two-year contract with the Office of Economic Opportunity’s demonstration project to develop open housing programs in Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; Providence, Rhode Island; and Rochester, New York. The NCADH-led pressure to create an open housing market around the Atomic Energy Commission plant site in Illinois resulted in passage of 64 open housing laws in the surrounding community.

The NCADH filed amicus curiae briefs in the California and United States Supreme Courts challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 14, a state constitutional amendment by referendum to authorize landlord freedom, thus allowing discrimination based on race in private housing. The case Reitman v. Mulkey found Proposition 14 unconstitutional on May 29, 1967.

The NCADH’s activism continued, and in 1967 the organization held a workshop on housing opportunities for antipoverty officials from 36 states and published How the Federal Government Builds Ghettos. This publication led to reforms by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 1968, the NCADH established a Department of Field Services and Planning, a Western Field Office in San Francisco, and a Washington Bureau. The organization was instrumental to the successful effort to pass the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968. Additionally, the organization submitted amicus curiae briefs and helped to finance the litigation in Jones v Mayer Co. This case determined the constitutionality of an 1866 law prohibiting discrimination in housing as “a badge of slavery” and the law was upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

The NCADH established its Research Department in 1969 to investigate issues in fair housing and job equality. Two main projects began that year, the cooperative HUD/NCADH West Coast Project in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Carnegie Research Project. The Carnegie project investigated minority access to jobs and housing in the New York City metropolitan area. In 1970, the organization led a nationwide campaign to pressure the Nixon Administration to enforce federal fair housing law. A major defeat for the NCADH in 1970 was the United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a provision of the California Constitution requiring a referendum at the local level for the construction of a public housing project in the case of James v. Valtierra.


88.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Source of Acquisition

Edward L. Holmgren

Method of Acquisition


Related Publications

The Amistad Research Center’s library division contains a collection of the NCDH publication Trends in Housing.

Processing Information

The work to archivally process the records of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing were completed in 1984.

National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, Inc. records
Kenneth Coleman and Charles Johnson
August 1984
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Amistad Research Center Repository

6823 Saint Charles Avenue
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
New Orleans LA 70118 US
(504) 862-3222