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The Seattle Open Housing Campaign, 1959-1968
Open Housing Hearing, October 25, 1963
Testimony of Nancy McGhee, property owner and ordinance opponent (mp3, 553k)
Orville Robertson: Mr. Chairman, the next speaker is Nancy McGhee, homeowner.
Nancy McGhee: Mr. Chairman and members of the Council. This open housing ordinance is an attempt to deprive all of us of one of our basic democratic rights, which is to dispose of our property, both real and personal, as we see fit. I do not oppose this law because it deprives one race and gives to another. I object because it deprives all of us of a basic freedom which is a part of our American democracy, this being the right of personal selection. This is not a matter to be legislated. It is a moral obligation to be determined by the individual when the circumstance arises or presents itself. Should such a situation present itself, I might be forced, as the ordinance reads, into selling my property in a manner which I do not feel is satisfactory. This pressure, of such a housing ordinance, could very well affect my good judgment, because I can't as an average homeowner, afford the support of Council to defend my honest intentions.
Many minority groups in our own area have, in the eyes of their fellow citizens and neighbors, become openly welcomed in housing and in any public place. They gained this acceptance through their individual efforts and individual accomplishments. They did not need the federal, state or local governments to deprive others to obtain these goals. They gained their recognition through honest hard work and by establishing a record of being a good neighbor and a good citizen in this community.
This is not a public housing ordinance. This is a thought control bill. Some good proponent this morning made a statement in nature. He said, “I feel that because we have elected these Councilmen they will do what they think is right in this instance.” I would like that same freedom. Thank you.
Wing Luke: Thank you, Mrs. Nancy McGhee.
Citation: CD 55, 56 and 57. Seattle City Council Audio Recordings, 4601-03. Seattle Municipal Archives.