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00:00:04 - Introduction to Larry Pearl

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Partial Transcript: Could you state your name and spell it out, and tell me about some of the job titles that you've had in the past?

Segment Synopsis: Larry introduces himself, and provides a brief overview of the positions he's held during his career.

Keywords: Office of Housing and Equal Opportunity; US Department of Housing and Urban Development

00:01:31 - Interest in Housing Reform

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Partial Transcript: Your first question was how I came to be interested in housing.

Segment Synopsis: Larry speaks to his early experiences with housing discrimination and fair housing, specifically as a college student, looking for housing with Black students. He describes discrimination he encountered in this situation in both Cleveland and Washington, DC. He goes on to discuss his early careers in government, where he first worked with the Office of General Counsel, where he became interested in housing. He then moved to the Housing and Home Finance Agency, which became HUD. He goes on to talk about the development of HUD and the interactions between the various departments within the agency, which often held contradicting views on civil rights and fair housing.

Keywords: Antioch College; Cleveland; Eddie Lovett; Fair Housing Act of 1968; HUD; Harvard University; Housing and Home Finance Agency; Office of General Counsel; Students for Democratic Action; Urban Renewal Agency; Washington, DC; Yale University; red lining

Subjects: Housing discrimination; Racism; Segregation

00:15:46 - Departmental Relations in HUD

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Partial Transcript: When I was in the general counsel's office, one of the jobs there was to try and pull together all of the staffs of the different parts of the Housing and Home Finance Agency.

Segment Synopsis: Larry speaks to the difficulty of bringing together the various departments of the newly established Department of Housing and Urban Development. He says that many of the departments had significant autonomy prior to the creation of HUD, especially the FHA. He goes on to describe the problems that this caused, as many of the leaders of the various departments had contradicting opinions of fair housing and civil rights. He says that this caused conflict within the agency when the department of equal opportunity was established. He goes on to name various leaders within HUD, and says that many of them were pro-civil rights, but that some, especially those who were under the advisement of the office of the presidency, which, under Nixon, was conservative compared to HUD.

Keywords: FHA; GCO; HUD; Housing and Home Finance Agency; Interdepartmental relations

Subjects: Civil rights; Presidents

00:24:22 - Initiatives of HUD

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Partial Transcript: The path was not smooth in terms of the initiatives that we were trying to work on.

Segment Synopsis: Larry talks about the initiatives that HUD tried to implement. He describes affirmative marketing, which he says was meant to bring an end to targeted real estate, which often worked to create segregated housing communities. He also discusses racial data collection, which was also meant to assist in fair housing. He goes on to speak about Secretary George Romney, of whom he was initially very critical, but who he says he later saw as a good leader.

Keywords: affirmative marketing; racial data collection

Subjects: Low-income housing; Segregation

00:31:47 - Fair Housing Logo

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Partial Transcript: The statement also said that the secretary would not only administer his programs, but would take the lead in programs throughout the federal government.

Segment Synopsis: Larry talks about Sam Simmons' development of a logo for federal lending agencies that would make clear their commitment to fair housing.

Keywords: fair housing; federal lending agencies; logo

00:34:06 - Desegregation of Public Housing

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Partial Transcript: There were field people who were specifically designed to investigate fair housing complaints, to work on policy with other parts of the agency, and so on.

Segment Synopsis: Larry discusses the desegregation efforts made in terms of public housing following the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He says that HUD found that if they put pressure on municipalities to desegregate, and then allowed those municipalities to create solutions on their own, that such areas often were able to make significant strides in desegregation. He gives the example of Seattle, where local housing agencies were able to integrate previously segregated projects.

Keywords: East Texas; Seattle; housing projects

Subjects: Administration; Low-income housing; Segregation

00:42:01 - Role of HUD Officials in Municipal Opposition

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Partial Transcript: Going back to what HUD's role was, as I said, there was one case in Georgia, we couldn't get them to settle.

Segment Synopsis: Larry talks about pushback within different offices of HUD against fair housing. He says that some regional directors and other HUD officials facilitated insubordination from various municipalities. He sites court testimony from the Atlanta regional director in support of an noncompliant Housing Authority, as well as directions from a Texas regional director for his staff to falsify fair housing paperwork as some of the ways in which HUD officials did not support efforts made by the larger agency.

Keywords: Civil Rights Act of 1964; Civil Rights Act of 1968; HUD; Housing Authority

Subjects: Administration

00:45:06 - Suburbanization and Housing Changes in Metropolitan Areas

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Partial Transcript: I lived in an area that was becoming open to African Americans.

Segment Synopsis: Larry talks about the integration of more Black people that occurred in Washington, DC, and the white flight to the suburbs of the city. He describes efforts such as Neighbors, Inc. which made attempts to create racially diverse neighborhoods in Washington.

Keywords: Brown v. Board of Education; Diversity; Neighbors, Inc.; restrictive covenants

Subjects: Covenants; Segregation; Social integration; Suburbs; Urban renewal

00:51:30 - Legislation and Litigation in Public Housing

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Partial Transcript: What type of policies do state, local, and federal institutions play in allowing those type of phenomena to really take off?

Segment Synopsis: Larry talks about legislation, specifically the Civil Rights acts, and how they encouraged lawsuits which supported public housing in diverse areas and attempted to stop actions that broke up neighborhoods, like urban renewal.

Keywords: Dispersal; Gautreaux projects; John F. Kennedy; Middle-income housing; executive orders; public housing; restrictive covenants

Subjects: City planning; Covenants; Urban renewal

00:59:58 - FHA/HUD Relations

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Partial Transcript: Generally, what were the mechanics of it?

Segment Synopsis: Larry talks about the lack of cooperation for HUD actions from the FHA. He suggests that much of the FHA staff was opposed to fair housing efforts, or at least were not enthusiastic about efforts made by HUD, and so were a barrier to HUD attempts at fair housing. He says that people from Community Development were more supportive of HUD actions.

Keywords: Affirmative marketing; FHA; HUD; Racial data

Subjects: Community development

01:09:26 - Nixon on Fair Housing

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Partial Transcript: I'm wondering how the disciplining of Romney and that change in presidential policy affected HUD's operations, and what HUD's reaction was?

Segment Synopsis: Larry describes the effects of presidential politics on fair housing. He says that Richard Nixon's presidency supported the suburban opposition to fair housing efforts. He also said that the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 was passed partially as a result of high tensions around the 1988 election.

Keywords: George Romney; Richard Nixon; purging

Subjects: Presidents; Suburbs

01:18:06 - Model Cities

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Partial Transcript: I'm not sure if you're aware of this program called "Model Cities"?

Segment Synopsis: Larry discusses a HUD program called "Model Cities," of which Dayton, Ohio was one. He says that the initiative was started by George Romney, then secretary of HUD. He says that this was not particularly successful, and this and other initiatives died out following Romney's departure from HUD.

Keywords: Dayton; George Romney; HUD; Model cities

Subjects: City planning

01:24:03 - Romney's Success and Other Secretaries

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Partial Transcript: After Romney left it was a period of adjustment, because while he was there he was really trying to move things, and to get the Department working as a unit.

Segment Synopsis: Larry talks about the success of George Romney's programs at HUD, and the high density of new initiatives during his tenure at HUD. He goes on to say that the first secretary of HUD, Robert Weaver, faced more barriers in instituting programs as the first African American secretary of a federal department, while Romney had more ease. He mentions similar difficulties with Patricia Harris, another Black secretary of HUD.

Keywords: George Romney; HUD; James Carter; Patricia Harris; Robert Weaver

Subjects: Racism

01:27:19 - Larry's Current Fair Housing Work

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Partial Transcript: It was a great career, and I'm still working in fair housing today.

Segment Synopsis: Larry talks about his current work in fair housing, and descries his hope for new HUD initiatives and regulations, while recognizing the work that still needs to be done. He goes on to discuss the inequity in wealth among different racial groups in modern day, especially following the great recession of 2008, and its similarities to cycles of predatory lending that took place in the past.

Keywords: Fair housing; HUD

Subjects: Equity; Federal government; Local government; Predatory lending