Black History Month is a time for Americans to learn about much of our nation’s rich history that, sadly, is often under-discussed or neglected. As we have learned in recent years—through books like The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein—what occurs in the past shapes much of our present and future. Policies such as redlining and blockbusting still have impacts on communities today, which are large reasons why—according to the National Association of REALTORS®the Black homeownership rate today is nearly 30% less than the White homeownership rate. (Click here to learn more about home ownership rates in Virginia.) It is important to set time aside to learn about and honor this history, and that is what this month’s celebrations are all about.  

Founded in 1947 by twelve brave individuals who envisioned Democracy in Housing for their communities, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) advocates for equal opportunities for Black real estate professionals (of all levels, not just brokers), consumers, and communities. In the late 1940s, Blacks were not allowed to join the National Association of REALTORS®, so the trailblazers of the time began their own association. NAREB is the oldest minority trade association in the United States, and “Realtists”—as the association’s members are called—have been influential throughout history. Virginia is home to three NAREB chapters:  in Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northern Virginia 

This Black History Month, the Northern Virginia Realtist Chapter is hosting “Frederick Douglass Speaks on Equity and Equality in Real Estate” on February 16th. This event will feature Virginia author and poet Nathan Richardson of SCPublishing, who captures the physical and intellectual work of Frederick Douglass and teaches the untold history of Frederick Douglass and his remarkable transformation from chattel property to property owner. Real estate professionals will be able to ask questions and gain insight to the philosophy of one of the Nation’s most famous and successful abolitionists, writers, and entrepreneurs.  

NAREB also has some major events coming up for the year, including: 

  • Mid-Winter Conference: March 1st-4th in San Antonio, TX 
  • Realtist Week:  April 3rd-9th. Realtist Week occurs every April, with a host of activities grounded in NAREB’s desire to increase the economic futures of Black Americans through democracy in housing. 
  • 75th Annual Conference: August 2nd-6th in Tampa, FL. This conference is not only celebrating NAREB’s 75 years in existence, but it will also be held in the same city where the very first conference was held. 

Click here for a complete list of NAREB events in 2022.

Happy Black History Month!