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Black victims of decades-old discrimination fight tax bills

Businesses in Hamtramck, Michigan
Ian Freimuth
/
creative commons
Businesses in Hamtramck, Michigan

A judge has suspended property tax bills at dozens of homes near Detroit in the latest round of a decades-old lawsuit over the destruction of black neighborhoods.

Hamtramck has struggled to fulfill an agreement to offer low-cost family housing as the remedy for discrimination in the 1950s and '60s. Now the city has another problem: protests over soaring tax bills on many of the homes that were given to victims or their relatives.

Mary Miner's taxes went up 63 percent, to $2,600. Attorney Michael Barnhart predicts a wave of foreclosures if the city doesn't reverse course. He says taxes must be part of affordable housing.

Hamtramck denies that it's targeting blacks. A judge has ordered negotiations and stopped tax collections at 68 homes.

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