James Farmer Jr. and Morris Milgram were black and white co-founders of Fund for an OPEN Society in 1975 after both men had become established civil rights and open housing leaders. While not the only integrationists or the most renown names from their era, their innovative work remains extraordinary and ahead of its time. Effectively, they provided the model of combined intentional integration and community development.
In addition to organizing the Freedom Rides in the South in 1947, Mr. Farmer was a politician, theologian, advocate, author and organizational leader.
Mr. Milgram was a housing developer focused on racially integrated development, marketing and community relations. To his credit are integrated neighborhoods like Greenbelt Knoll in Philadelphia – and many more in other states nationwide – touching over 20,000 people.
OPEN and its affiliated companies accomplished their work through development, financing, pro-integrative mortgages, affirmative marketing, community development programs and policy advocacy.
Over the years the organization has transitioned but NEVER wavered from the original notion that communities could be integrated by race, class and more and that people would want to build, live in and take part in creating Dr. King’s ‘Beloved Community.’
Today, legacy of Farmer and Milgram lives on through Fund for an Open Society’s Open Communities.