Watch the dedication ceremony:
Chicago Association of REALTORS® celebrated the legacy of our first African American president Marion Maner last Friday, August 26, with a ceremonial bench dedication at Avalon Park, a Chicago Park District property.
Marion was a trailblazer who embodied true achievement in the Chicago real estate community. He founded his company, Maner Realty, in 1956. In 1973 he became president of the Dearborn REALTIST® Board. In 1977, eleven years after the Fair Housing Act became law, he accepted the most influential role within the Chicago Association of REALTORS® at a time when it was not popular for a black man to lead. Marion’s presidency was and is indicative of our support and advocacy for Fair Housing for all. Although soft spoken, he inspired others to be servant leaders at the association, throughout the industry and within his community.
“We deeply appreciate all that Marion accomplished, including his work to include people of all ethnicities and backgrounds in the Chicago real estate industry,” Zeke Morris, past-president of C.A.R. and managing broker/principal at the Morris Group, Century 21 Affiliated – Hyde Park, said.
Sidney Maner, his son, spoke at the dedication ceremony on many of Marion’s accomplishments, noting that his father “was committed to fighting discrimination in housing against African Americans, pushing for fair housing laws and equal access, fighting against restrictive covenants, and helping many families realize their dreams of home ownership.” Sidney recalled that when asked why he accepted the C.A.R. presidency, Marion responded, “If I am given an opportunity, I will succeed.”
As president of C.A.R., Marion focused on effecting change within the organization and promoting inclusion. He urged closer adherence to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, spoke out against rent control and pushed for implementation of the anti-discrimination agreement. He also worked tirelessly to encourage different housing organizations to work together on fair housing solutions.
Outside of real estate, Marion was a dedicated family man and fisherman, popular throughout his neighborhood and the larger Chicago community. Avalon Park is close to both his former office and Calumet Heights home. The memorial bench is located near the front of the park.
Distinguished guests included Alderman Michelle Harris of the 8th Ward; Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer of the 6th Ward; Sidney Maner, Marion Maner’s son, and numerous members of the Maner family; Willa Lang of the Chicago Parks Foundation; Zeke Morris, a C.A.R. past president; and C.A.R. board members Sonia Anaya (America Real Estate), Ginger Downs (C.A.R.), Heather Gustafson (@properties), Antje Gehrken (A.R.E. Partners), Sarah Ware (Ware Realty Group), Maurice Hampton (Centered International Realty), Nykea Pippion-McGriff (Dream Town Realty), and Hugh Rider (Realty & Mortgage Co.).