For housing plaintiffs, end of lawsuit means justice denied

We’ve danced this dance before, but it appears that finally the legendary housing discrimination lawsuit filed against Hamtramck over 30 years ago is settled, once and for all.

The Sarah Sims Garret versus the City of Hamtramck case started some 40 years ago when city officials targeted neighborhoods populated mostly by African-Americans for housing demolition – all under the guise of “urban renewal.”

Rightly so, those individuals and families filed a lawsuit against the city for housing discrimination.

The city eventually agreed to build 200 housing units for the plaintiffs, but guess what? There was no money to fund the project.

Flash forward to a few years ago, and thanks largely to the Obama administration, money poured in to help juice the economy. That allowed city officials to tap into federal funds to start building houses.

Representatives from the plaintiffs and the city signed off on the lawsuit last week, and all that remains is the judge’s signature.

Let’s assume for the moment that the case is finally over.

So what have we learned from this issue?

One thing is for sure, there are likely no living survivors from the original lawsuit. As the saying goes, justice delayed is justice denied.

Even the federal judge in the case, Damon Keith, admitted that.

What a shame those plaintiffs have missed out, and it just compounds Hamtramck’s original sin of discriminating in the first place.

Hopefully, Hamtramck can now move forward and put this sad chapter behind it.


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