In the 1950s and 1960s, the National Association of Real Estate Boards and the California Real Estate Association openly opposed fair housing laws, referring to such laws as “forced housing.” Studies have noted that a handful of private developers spoke out against these major industry groups and even developed racially inclusive open-occupancy housing tracts. But the historiography has yet to account for the fact that some developers also helped shape fair housing laws behind the scenes. This study shows that major California developers Joseph “Joe” Eichler and his son Edward “Ned” Eichler exerted a great deal of influence on the regulatory environment by working with state and federal officials. This story is not better known because the Eichlers concealed their activism from the general public in an attempt to protect their business.

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