Life of Mrs. Carnis Salisbury: Albuquerque Fair Housing and Civil Rights Pioneer

Photo of Carnis SalisburyOn Sunday, June 20, 2021, at 2 p.m., Brian Eagan, Attorney for the Albuquerque Housing Authority presented “Life of Mrs. Carnis Salisbury: Albuquerque Fair Housing and Civil Rights Pioneer.” The program was live-streamed on the AHS Facebook page.

Brian spoke about the remarkable life and lasting legacy of Mrs. Carnis Hightower Salisbury, an Albuquerque Fair Housing and Civil Rights Pioneer. We learned about her upbringing, formal education and career in the federal government, her personal activism as a leader in the NAACP and work as a teacher. We learned how she worked her whole life to help people overcome ignorance, racial discrimination and segregation, and to affirmatively further fair housing opportunities and equal employment opportunities for all people. We also learned how she helped lead the way forward to changing laws in our city and nation, then helped to educate local people, including local attorneys, on how to enforce those laws to ensure that equal justice under law would be a reality in our city.

AHA Administrative Building Named in Honor of Local Champion of Fair Housing

Carnis Salisbury moved to Albuquerque with her late husband, Oliver Salisbury, in 1961. They suffered discrimination in their search for housing in Albuquerque but with the help of others, they spearheaded a successful effort to secure passage of one the first Fair Housing city ordinances in the country in June of 1963, predating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the federal Fair Housing Act (a/k/a Civil Rights Act of 1968). In 1990 Mrs. Salisbury was awarded the City of Albuquerque’s Human Rights award.

Photo of Brian EaganBrian A. Eagan, a native of Albuquerque, graduated from Sandia High School (Class of 1999), University of New Mexico (UNM) Presidential Scholar (Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, May 2003) and UNM School of Law (Juris Doctor, May 2006). He is married to local Realtor, David T. Gilpin. During law school, Brian was an intern at the City of Albuquerque Legal Department. He also completed the District Attorney (D.A.) Clinical Law Program at Bernalillo County Metropolitan (Metro) Court. He became member of the State Bar of New Mexico in Fall 2006. From 2006 to 2014, he was the Assistant City Attorney for Albuquerque Housing Authority (AHA). His office was at City Hall. He also advised the City’s Human Rights Board, and city staff at the Human Rights Office on Fair Housing law issues. He also worked with the City’s Office of Neighborhood Revitalization (ONR).

Since 2014, Brian has served the public full time as Attorney for AHA. In 2014, his desk moved from City Hall to the AHA main office in the Carnis Salisbury Building at 1840 University Blvd. SE.

Since 2006, he has represented AHA Public Housing and Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) rental assistance programs, with appearances in Metro Court nearly every week, on landlord-tenant cases (evictions).Since 2011, he has advised the AHA Board of Housing Commissioners, the governing body of Albuquerque Housing Authority and attends the monthly public meetings of the AHA Board. The Mayor appoints the AHA Board members. HUD provides federal grant funds to operate AHA programs and capital funds for buildings.

Brian has also successfully defended the City and AHA in administrative investigations by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) when people file Fair Housing Act Discrimination complaints against City of Albuquerque staff and AHA. He has helped train AHA staff annually on how to comply with the federal Fair Housing Act, the NM Human Rights Act, and related city laws and regulations. The City and AHA seek to affirmative further fair housing opportunities in our community.

Brian also has a long time interest in the history of Albuquerque, including the events of the 20th Century. He is the only child of Steve and Deborah Eagan. Steve Eagan was also born and raised in Albuquerque. Steve has taught Brian a lot of local history. The Eagan family have been members of the Albuquerque Historical Society (AHS) for many years. Brian enjoys teaching and learning more about the history of his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.