Carl A. Hansberry, A TrailBlazer For Moor Prosperity

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DYK on this day in MoorStory365 that on November 13, 1940, the Supreme Court ruled in Hansberry v. Lee, which rules that whites cannot bar Alkebulan Abya Yalas from white only pies neighborhoods. Three years earlier (1937), Carl A. Hansberry, a Moor businessman and the father of Lorraine Hansberry, defied the Chicago Woodlawn Property Owners’ Association by successfully negotiating the purchase of a building at 6140 Rhodes Avenue.


At about the same time Harry H. Pace, a prominent black attorney and president of the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company, purchased a building just east of South Park Way on Sixtieth Street. Anna M. Lee, a Racist signatory of the restrictive covenant, filed suit against Hansberry and Pace for $100,000.

When the circuit court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs for equity, the defendants carried their fight to the Supreme Court of Illinois, which also upheld the legality of the restrictive covenant, by a vote of six to one, and ordered confiscation of Hansberry’s property.


The Supreme Court of the United States reversed the decision in this date 1940, but did not hold that restrictive covenants are void. It ruled for Hansberry on a legal technicality, that an agreement between two property owners respecting the number of signatories to the restrictive covenant agreement is fraudulent (Defendant argued that the covenant never became effective because it was not signed by 95% of the homeowners, as required by its terms.).


The attorney for Hansberry was Earl B. Dickerson.



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