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Many Americans believed the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president heralded the zenith of the civil rights movement and ushered in a color-blind society. Two years later that assumption is being questioned.
Two years ago, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed suit in Indiana and stopped what it said was a threat to disenfranchise homeowners facing foreclosure. Now, after countless more foreclosures, an NAACP lawyer says it's ready to litigate again if needed.
At issue in the 2008 lawsuit was whether a list of homeowners facing foreclosure could be used to challenge their eligibility to vote. A local Republican Party official had been quoted saying that presence on such a list “would be a solid basis” to ask someone to cast a provisional ballot.
Because Mark and Romy Samuels had jobs and insurance on their Gentilly home that was totaled by Hurricane Katrina’s flooding, they got nothing from the Road Home.
They made too much money to get a low-income grant. Insurance covered the equity they had in the house, but not the larger costs estimated by the Road Home itself of rebuilding it. After fighting the program’s appraisals and watching as friends in areas that didn’t even flood got big grants, the parents of three small children had no choice but to sell their house.