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Justice Department Files Suits Charging Housing Bias Against Jews

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The U.S. Justice Department has asked that actions be brought against three large apartment house complexes in the District of Columbia and adjacent Prince Georges County, Maryland, which allegedly discriminate against Negros and Jews. One suit filed in U.S. District Court charged that the residents of Tilden Gardens, a co-operative in a fashionable section of Washington, systematically vetoed applications of Jews and Negros. The second suit, filed in Federal Court in Baltimore, accused the operators of the Oakcrest Towers and South view Apartments in Maryland of inequitable treatment of Negro applicants and the segregation of Negro tenants.

Charges against Tilden Gardens were brought by Samuel T. Eastman, an official of the District of Columbia government, who is neither Negro nor Jewish. Mr. Eastman said his application to purchase an apartment was vetoed because he replied in the affirmative when asked if he would entertain Negro guests.

The Justice Department suit said that all occupants of Tilden Gardens were white, except for two Negro servants, and that none were Jewish except for the wife of one tenant. “Since all of the stockholders are white and substantially non-Jewish,” the suit said, “the requirement for the concurrence of stockholders discriminates against Negros and Jews on account of race, color, religion and national origin,” a violation of the 1968 Civil Rights Act. The Justice Department charged that the two Maryland apartment buildings required Negro applicants to demonstrate higher financial and other qualifications than whites and assigned Negro tenants to certain areas of the complex.

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