Mulkey & Johnson

Mulkey & Johnson

Dorothy Mulkey (2014)

In 1963, the California State Legislature passed the Rumford Act, also known as the “fair housing act”, which declared that racial discrimination in housing rental or sales was against the law. In response, the California Association of Realtors sponsored Proposition 14, to overthrow the Rumford Fair Housing Act. Proposition 14 passed in a vote of 3 to 1 in Orange County. This proposition effectively allowed landlords to refuse to rent to African-Americans, Asians, Latinos and any other group of persons they were prejudiced against. Dorothy Mulkey challenged Proposition 14 in 1966 after a Santa Ana landlord refused to rent a vacant apartment to her family. The ACLU and the Orange County Fair Housing Council took her case all the way to the Supreme Court, and in 1967 the court declared Prop 14 unconstitutional. Landlords no longer could refuse to rent to people because of their skin color, religion or ethnicity. The fair housing movement was a very important and prominent aspect of Orange County’s civil rights era. Both the Fullerton and the Orange County Fair Housing Councils were both formed in the mid-60’s in response to this issue.

Update: February 10, 2015 – 

A Housing Hero Need a Place to Live.  Dorothy Mulkey’s house partially burned on Dec. 14, 2014.  While there is no structural damage, the smoke destroyed everything inside the house.  Dorothy was the plaintiff of Reitman v. Mulkey that ended housing discrimination in California in 1967 by eliminating Prop. 14 that had given landlords the right to discriminate.

Robert A. Johnson (2014)

Robert Johnson has been deeply involved in advocacy for fair housing issues in Orange County. In 1961, Johnson, his wife, Lois, and their three children moved to Orange County to live in the city of Tustin. In 1966, he began almost three decades of work to eliminate segregation of African Americans in the county through the Orange County Fair Housing Council. In 1969, he was elected chair of its Board of Directors and continued on to serve as an officer through 1995. In 1981, he received the “Fair Housing Volunteer of the Year” award from the Community Relations Conference of Southern California. Johnson currently is a Board member of the Orange County Community Housing Corporation, which he co-founded in 1978 to provide housing for extremely low-income people, and is on the Board of the Santa Ana Black Historical Society. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering from UCLA, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

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