Visualizing the hidden histories of race and privilege in Minneapolis
We are a team of geographers, historians, digital humanists and community activists seeking to expose structural racism in Minneapolis. We are building a map that shows how racial restrictions were embedded in the physical landscape of our community. We are unearthing racial covenants in Hennepin County property deeds, to reveal how much land was reserved for the exclusive use of white people for most of the twentieth century.
Meet Our Team
Zooniverse Transcription Complete!
We finished transcribing all of the Hennepin County property deeds! Our citizen researchers examined 177,343 documents drawn from 38,388 property deeds. We are working on mapping the results. For all the volunteers who contributed to this project—Thank you!
The Black Midwest Symposium
What wonder exists in the physical and imaginative geographies of the so-called “flyover states”? What forms of black sociality does this flight refuse to engage? The Black Midwest Symposium is a gathering place for all those who are invested in the possibilities of life in the middle and who desire to build community and communion within a wondrous sector of black America.
This interactive visualization shows the spread of racially-restrictive deeds across Minneapolis during the first half of the twentieth century.
Racial covenants were tools used by real estate developers in the 19th and 20th century to prevent people of color from buying or occupying property. Often just a few lines of text, these covenants were inserted into warranty deeds across the country. These real estate contracts were powerful tools for segregationists. Real estate developers and public officials used private property transactions to build a hidden system of American apartheid during the twentieth century.
Inspired by the idea that we cannot address the inequities of the present without an understanding of the past, Mapping Prejudice was created to make this structural racism visible. Our interdisciplinary team of community activists, students and scholars from Augsburg University and the University of Minnesota is working to identify and map the property contracts that rendered many neighborhoods in Minneapolis racially exclusive.
Minneapolis was not always segregated. Covenants helped remake the racial landscape of the city. As racially-restrictive deeds spread, African Americans were pushed into small and increasingly circumscribed neighborhoods. Even as the number of black residents continued to climb, ever-larger swaths of the city became entirely white.