MILWAUKEE, WI - Fifty years ago Wednesday the Fair Housing Act of 1968 was signed into law —
after thousands of brave men and woman across the country spent years protesting housing discrimination.
Wednesday morning, dozens of people from Milwaukee were recognized for their efforts in this fight.
"I thought that it was necessary and I believed in the cause," Wilbur Arms said.
Arms is just one of the young people who protested housing discrimination in Milwaukee and although he was only 15 when he joined the NAACP Youth Council, Arms said even at such a young age he knew the work he was doing had the potential to change lives—and to be honored today by the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors is nothing short of amazing.
“It’s really surprising because I never expected to get anything for the battles that we fought with the city over open housing," Arms said. "I feel great, it’s a great honor."
Arms along with his peers who are being honored all marched to demand an open housing ordinance in Milwaukee. The marches started on August 28, 1967, and continued for 200 consecutive days, ending on March 1968—and although this particular fight may be over the access to equality they fought is something that continues today.
“I wish we were here to celebrate and declare a victory and be able to say that we have true equality in our society," Mayor Tom Barrett said. "But I don’t think we're there yet, there's still work to do."
The mayor also declared April 11 Fair Housing Act Day in the city of Milwaukee.