Created Equal: Family speaks out about experiencing exclusion, separation in Levittown

Originally published in PIX11 on September 01, 2020.

The Declaration of Independence claims that all men are created equal, but history proves different. PIX11 begins a series of reports to provide context and hope that America can aspire to become a more perfect union. Home ownership is a big step toward fulfilling that American dream, and redlining wasn’t the only way that African Americans were kept out of certain communities. Levittown, Long island is considered one of the first mass-produced suburbs in the country, however deeds for the initial homes came with a clause that excluded African Americans. PIX11’s James Ford spoke to a family who experienced the exclusion firsthand.

In New York, and specifically on Long Island, state legislators, led by Sen. Kevin Thomas, a Levittown resident of South Asian descent, invited realtors to testify at a hearing late last year about long-standing practices of steering Black home buyers away from predominantly white communities.

"There's a spotlight on them," Sen. Thomas told PIX11 News in a Zoom interview, "saying, 'What exactly are you doing to train your real estate agents?'"

"And those real estate agents that didn't show up," Thomas continued, "we subpoenaed them."

The New York State Senate is expected to hold hearings later this month with realtors who were compelled by supoena to appear, including Coldwell Banker, Re/Max, Keller Williams and Realty Connect USA, according to a spokesperson for Sen. Thomas.

See the full story on Pix11.