Agnes Bunn files a discrimination complaint against Fred Trump

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On February 9, a black woman named Agnes Bunn files a formal complaint with the city against Fred Trump for housing discrimination.

I was made aware of a 3-1/2 and a 4-1/2 room apartment at 41-10 Bowne Street in Flushing, New York (Queens County) by a friend who lives at that address. On Friday, February 6, 1970, I saw an ad in the New York Times indicating that such apartments were available. I had been to this building about a month earlier in response to an ad in the New York Times, but was told by the Superintendent that no similar vacancies existed.

At about 4:15 in the afternoon of Friday, February 6, 1970, I went to the premises and rang the Superintendent’s bell . A woman answered the intercom. I told her I had come in reference to the ad in the New York Times and that I was interested in a 3-1/2 or 4-1/2 room apartment . She told me I could “forget the 4-1/2 room apartment,” and that there were no lights in the apartment and therefore it could not be seen. I insisted on asking her about the rents, and she finally told me that someone would be down to help me.

The Superintendent came down shortly afterwards. I showed him the ad that I had in my hands from the New York Times and asked him about the apartments in question. He told me that the ad had been running since last Monday and that the apartments were both taken. I asked him when the apartments were rented; he told me that they had been rented last Monday. I asked him how much was the rent for the 3-1/2 and the 4-1/2. He told me that the rents were $235 and $263 respectively. I then left the premises.

I am a Negro . I charge the respondents with discriminating against me in violation of the New York City Administrative Code.

Agnes Bunn

Bunn testified in front of the New York City Commission on Human Rights later in the year. Shortly after, her and her husband became the first black people to live in the building.


Photograph: Jack Smith/NY Daily News Archive, via Getty Images

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