Letter from the Haverhill Council of Church Women in support of Civil Rights Bill and Title IV, 1966 (2)

Letter from the Haverhill Council of Church Women urging the Congressman to support any legislation that would strengthen the Civil Rights Bill. Bates addresses Title IV. 

This document represents one of several materials taken from the papers of Representative William Henry Bates at Salem State College.  Bates was Essex County’s Representative in the United States House of Representativesfrom 1950-1969.  The letters reflect Essex County residents’ opinions on the Fair Housing portion of proposed Civil Rights legislation.  The Fair Housing provisions of various Civil Rights bills prohibited racial discrimination in the sale or rental of all homes.  Many Essex County residents saw this provision as a violation of their property rights.  Homeowners that lived in two- or three-family homes were particularly outraged.  The letters span from President Johnson’s first proposal of Fair Housing legislation in 1966 until 1968 when the bill was finally passed.  The tone of the letters becomes much more sympathetic after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.  

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Honorable William H. Bates, Congressman
House of Representatives.
Washington D. C.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to urge your support for the 1966 Civil Rights Bill and oppose any weakening amendments particularly any attempts to take out the provision establishing a Fair Housing Board to enforce the prohibition against housing discrimination.

Also to urge them to support efforts to strengthen the bill in line with the points made in the consensus of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

For your information this LCCR is the National organization of 100 civic, religious and civil rights groups United Church Women belong under Title IV they are concerned that the broad coverage of the Housing Title be retained including the provision regarding the brokers not being permitted to accept discriminatory listings.

Thanking you, Sincerely,

Mrs. A Louise Dufault
1st Vice President
Haverhill Council of Church Women
23 Nichols St.
Haverhill, Mass, 01830

Haverhill Council of Ch. Women

July 28, 1966

Mrs. A. Louise Dufault
1st Vice President
Haverhill Council of Church Women
23 Nichols Street
Haverhill, Massachusetts 01830

Dear Mrs. Dufault:

I appreciate your letter expressing the views of the Haverhill Council of Church Women and urging my support of civil rights legislation.

As you know, Title IV was considered to be the primary controversial section of this bill and it has now been amended.  I intend to support this section which is somewhat akin to our Massachusetts law.

There are, as you probably know, some ambiguities in the bill which were discovered after it was reported by the Committee and I believe that these matters should be clarified.

Thanking you for writing to me on this important matter, and with kindest regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

William H. Bates


Haverhill Council of Church Women to Congressman Bates, July 26, 1966. Letter. William Henry Bates Papers, 1941-1973. North Shore Political Archives 98-02, Folder: “Legislative Files-Judiciary-Civil Rights Act (1966) Box 3-4. Salem State College Archives.