DescriptionA Kennedy Presidential Speech Concerning Fair Housing Complete With Notes In Kennedy's Hand; He Defends His Recent Executive Order To Desegregate Federally Owned Or Funded Housing. Original speech text, 13 pages on 8" x 10.5" stiff cards, with large type (intended for actual use by JFK in delivering the speech, so made easy to read. Double-spaced to allow Kennedy to add his own notes for delivery). Pages 2-4 are missing; nothing carries over from page one, so presumably the section on those pages was deleted from the final speech. Extremely fine condition, with underlining or notes to himself about delivery in Kennedy's hand on nearly every page. Dated "1962" on first page, and thought to date from late in that year.
In 1962, Kennedy gave a speech before a homebuilder's convention discussing the Administration's role in housing. The typed speech states in part: "I am pleased to be able to greet you, the members of the housebuilding industry, on the occasion of your annual convention and exposition. Your industry is an important component in our national economy and is our mail reliance for meeting the housing needs of our people. Our national housing policy was clearly set forth in the Housing Act of 1949. It is the realization as soon as feasible of the goal of a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family. This Administration takes this pledge seriously... The role of the Federal Government in support of homebuilding and community development had been allowed to lapse dangerously, and this had to be corrected. I therefore submitted to the Congress my proposals for a comprehensive program to enable the housing industry to expand its capacity and broaden its market and to help communities to check the spread of blight and move ahead with their renewal efforts. Congress responded with the Housing Act of 1961. The results achieved in less than two years have been remarkable... Private lenders and builders were given an opportunity to participate in expansion of home modernization and improvement by a new program of FHA-insured loans... Housing for our elderly citizens is one of the national needs to which I called particular attention in my 1961 housing message... Urban renewal activity was stepped up beyond anything ever before achieved in that program. The Urban Renewal Administration during 1961 and the first nine months of this year approved 371 grants totalling [sic] almost $1 billion... The resulting renewal of downtown areas is itself an encouragement and stimulus to widespread economic activity and a support to the social and cultural well-being of the communities affected... This Administration has placed great emphasis on the difficult housing problems of families of low and moderate income, of elderly persons, and of members of minority groups... The problems of housing for members of minority groups is a challenge of a special kind! It tests not only our planning skills and our productive capacity, but also our sense of fairness and our devotion to our ideals. And it is a challenge that must be met if we are to carry out the national policy of a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family. Our obligations are clear. It was in this spirit that, on November 20, I issued the Executive Order on Equal Opportunity in Housing. That order states that 'the executive branch of the Government, in faithfully executing the laws of the United States which authorize Federal financial assistance, directly or indirectly, for the provision, rehabilitation, and operation of housing and related facilities, is charged with an obligation and duty to assure that those laws are fairly administered and that benefits thereunder are made available to all Americans without regard to race, color, creed or national origin.' This Order is in keeping with the spirit of our democracy. I was not unmindful of its possible effects on a group such as yours. I acted knowingly that it would call for very significant changes in some of our ways of doing business and that the necessary adjustments would in some cases be difficult. But we have come to the point in our history when these changes and adjustments must be made. And we will find that the greater freedom of choice they bring to our people will not only promote constitutional objectives, but in the long run, will be good for the housing economy. In all of this, the homebuilding industry has a crucial part to play. In your efforts to comply with the letter and the spirit of the Order, you will have strong support from the great majority of people who see the justice in this move and want it to succeed. And you will have the strong support of the Federal Government. At this time a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American appears attainable. We need only apply ourselves over the years ahead with consideration for the rights and needs of all our citizens. This Nation has the resources, the productive capacity and, yes, the will to achieve that goal." Kennedy issued that Executive Order in November 1962 and eloquently defended it in the speech shortly thereafter. The speech is sixteen pages long but lacks pages two, three and four. The speech is in pristine condition and Kennedy's writing is dark throughout. Provenance: John Reznikoff. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.
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