Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Mapping Segregation in the United States

Yesterday the Washington Post published an article exploring the lasting legacy of racial covenants. These 'racial covenants' were clauses which were written into property leases or deeds prohibiting them from being sold or rented to people not "of the Caucasian race." The article Historians Mapping Racial Covenants links to interactive maps created by Montogomery County Planners, by the University of Minnesota and in Washington DC.

The University of Minnesota's Mapping Prejudice includes an animated map which shows the spread of covenants over time in the city of Minneapolis. The 'timelapse' map shows the growth of the number of buildings in the city placed under racial covenants from 1911 to 1954. As the map plots covenants added through time you can see how whole neighborhoods are essentially segregated as more and more buildings in the city are given racial covenants.

Mapping Segregation in Washington DC is an interactive map which visualizes all the homes in the capital which have had racial covenants. The project has also created a number of story maps which explore in more detail the impact and historical legacy of racial covenants in the city. 

The Planning Commission of Montgomery County has also produced an interactive map which explores both historic redlining and the use of racial covenants in the county. Their Mapping Segregation Project looks at the history of segregation in Montgomery County. The project hopes to "explain how ... institutionalized and systemic actions led to the inequitable development of Montgomery County." The current interactive map is a working draft of this ongoing project to map the county's racial restrictive covenants and HOLC loans (redlining).

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