This interactive visualization shows the spread of racially-restrictive deeds across Minneapolis during the first half of the twentieth century.
Recently featured in the Star Tribune, the Mapping Prejudice Project is an ongoing and collaborative attempt to map racial restrictions attached to Minneapolis property records during the 20th century. While the practice was common throughout the country, no city has tracked the full extent of these restrictions. We hope to be the first. As our work progresses, this page will be updated to reflect our findings.
The most powerful instrument of segregation in the urban north during the twentieth century, these restrictions—also known as racial covenants—barred people who were not white from owning property. Their language is blunt. One common Minneapolis covenant reads: "the said premises shall not at any time be sold, conveyed, leased , or sublet, or occupied by any person or persons who are not full bloods of the so-called Caucasian or White race."
These short lines of text became the building blocks for a system of American apartheid.
There is nothing veiled about these agreements. But these legal restrictions remained largely hidden from the public eye. Unlike more visible signs of segregation like separate drinking fountains, racial covenants were buried in bound volumes in the county registrar’s office. Since they were outlawed by the Fair Housing Act of 1968, racially-restrictive deeds have also been largely forgotten. But their influence has lingered. They mandated a system of racial segregation that continues to define our urban landscape today.
Mapping Prejudice was created to excavate and map these covenants in Minneapolis. Our interdisciplinary team of community activists, students and scholars from Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota is determined to make the first-ever comprehensive visualization of these restrictions for an American city.