After World War II, the nation found itself facing a mood of deep seated social segregation it could no longer tolerate or afford. Yet the South confidently proclaimed itself to be the new plus ultra (uppermost limits) of Southern tolerance. Thus, was born the Civil Rights movement- a period of the most difficult but necessary struggle to topple the crumbling walls segregation had erected between Americans who had fought- and died together. The postwar years indeed gave African Americans inspiration, confidence, strength and hope for a better America.
The United Nations had been formed, and Ralph J. Bunche had become the United Nations Division Trustee. African Americans were gaining better paying jobs, and the Supreme Court had finally passed a ruling that restrictive covenants and private agreement to exclude persons of designated race from the ownership of real property were not enforceable under the law. Although the lives of African Americans were now changing for the good, and a few victories had been won, schools were still segregated under the “separate but equal” theory- and equal housing had yet to become a reality.
This is what drove the men and women who met in Tampa, Florida, on the sweltering night of July 29, 1947, to form the National Association of Real Estate Brokers- NAREB. These twelve pioneers, one woman and eleven men hailing from seven states across the country, are NAREB’S recognized founders: Nannie Black, Detroit, MI; Carleton Gains, Detroit, MI; O. B. Cobbins, Jackson, MS; George W. Powell, Jacksonville, FL; F. Henry Williams, Jacksonville, FL; J. W. Sanford, Oklahoma City, OK; Macco Crutcher, Detroit, MI; W. D. Morrison, Jr., Detroit MI; W.H. Hollins, Birmingham, AL; J. R. Taylor, Miami, FL; Horace Sudduth, Cincinnati, OH; A. Maceo Smith, Dallas, TX.
On this night, these people dedicated themselves to fair housing for all. They began by electing temporary officers as follows: W.D. Morrison, President; W. H. Hollins, Treasurer; Horace Sudduth, Vice President; F. Henry Williams, Secretary Word soon spread, and NAREB’s first convention was held at the Convention Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, on July 19-20, 1948. It was a resounding success- a moment of synergy when men and women across the country were able to come together to voice their opinions as one- and to take a stand against inequity and injustice.
Since then, NAREB and its REALTISTS® have gone on to win victory after victory in support of equal housing opportunities for all. We are an association proud of our past, relentless in our struggle, and 100% dedicated to the REALTIST® creed- Democracy in Housing.
The founding meeting was held at the then Negro Chamber of Commerce. The Founders were: J.W. Hubert, J.E Robinson, J.W. Robinson, Sr., E. J. Hardy, W.O. Bonner, W.W. Robinson, E.S. McCullough, O.J. Polk, Garfield Clark, Roscoe Cavitt and S.D. Jones, Sr.
In 1956, the organization was incorporated and became the Houston Real Estate Association, Inc. In 2012, a dba was created for HREA to do business as The Houston Black Real Estate Association, Inc.
Encouraged by the prospect of progress through organization, the association immediately launched an educational program in order to better qualify themselves and to open the door for other Negroes interested in the real estate industry. Through the cooperation of Texas Southern University, evening classes in Real Estate Principles, Salesmanship, Real Estate Brokerage and Real Estate Law were sponsored by the Association.