Is a Hartford real-estate company steering its apartments to white tenants?

August 05, 2004
In the mid-1980s, a group of University of Connecticut law students decided that racism was an institution that could be fought. They heard rumors that real-estate agents in Hartford's West End tended to segregate whites from minorities, so the group of students of varying races decided to test out the housing market for themselves.
     One black student, Cynthia Watts Elder, was denied an apartment by Plaza Realty & Management. She believed the denial was based on her race and filed a complaint against Plaza Realty with the state's Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. She eventually won the case, and went on to head the Human Rights and Opportunities Commission.
     Twenty years later, another idealistic group, this one calling itself the "Undoing Racism Committee" has set its sights on housing discrimination in Hartford. They, too, decided to test the waters with Plaza Realty.