Housing lawsuit ending has one key missing piece

There’s a saying in legal circles that goes:
“Justice delayed is justice denied.”
That saying is certainly true in the case of the Hamtramck housing discrimination lawsuit filed 56 years ago.
The lawsuit was finally put to rest last week in federal court, when attorneys met with a federal judge, but there was an important component missing in this historical moment: The plaintiffs who were wronged by the City of Hamtramck.
They have long been deceased, and they never experienced a ray of hope of receiving justice.
How, and why, the federal court allowed this case to drag on is a mystery – a maddening one.
For those unfamiliar, the lawsuit was filed by hundreds of African-American residents who saw their neighborhoods razed, in the late 60s, under the guise of “urban renewal.”
City officials, at the time, used that federal program as a cover to eradicate African-American neighborhoods. Those city officials are also long deceased, and they will never experience the shame they so richly deserved.
The city eventually built hundreds of housing units to atone for its sins, and fortunately the children and descendants of the plaintiffs were able to take advantage of purchasing the housing units at a subsidized cost.
The case is now officially over, but one has to wonder if the hurt and ill feelings it generated will ever also go away.
Posted May 10, 2024

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