Visualizing the hidden histories of race and privilege in the urban landscape
We are a team of geographers, historians, digital humanists and community activists seeking to expose structural racism. We have led community members in the work of unearthing thousands of racial covenants that reserved land for the exclusive use of white people. This allowed us to build a map that shows how these racial restrictions were embedded in the physical landscape. We are expanding the geographic focus of our work to incorporate new communities. Please join us in this effort.
Meet Our Team
New Educator's Guide
The shift to remote learning brought a wave of inquiries from educators looking for online resources. Mapping Prejudice has responded by creating this toolkit, which teachers can use to engage students around the history of racial covenants, segregation and white violence in Minnesota. The topic of structural racism has a new urgency in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This guide is meant to help students understand why we started this crisis with such huge racial disparities. As the public health emergency exacerbates these inequities, this history is critical to understand.
Mapping Prejudice has suspended face-to-face events for the time being. In lieu of our traditional outreach, we have transitioned to a digital format. Please join us for one of our weekly virtual sessions! Now more than ever, we need to understand the origins of unjust structures.
Click the link below to see a full schedule of our upcoming virtual volunteer sessions and events.
This interactive visualization shows the spread of racially-restrictive deeds across Hennepin County during the first half of the twentieth century.
Click on a racially covenanted lot to learn more about the property. Use the search button at the bottom of the map to look for a specific address.
Racial covenants were tools used by real estate developers 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 expose the racist practices that reshaped the landscape of Minneapolis. People of color see how discriminatory practices cascade through their lives, erecting barriers that limit access to housing, credit, education, and wealth. But the resulting physical, emotional, and financial baggage has been harder to recognize for people who have not personally experienced racism. Mapping Prejudice seeks to make these burdens visible by locating them on a digital, interactive map. The project team was inspired by a desire to create the first-ever comprehensive map of racial covenants for an American community.
The project started in Minneapolis, where research revealed that the city 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.
The project is based at the John Borchert Map Library at the University of Minnesota. From this base, our interdisciplinary team of community activists, students and scholars has mobilized community members to identify discriminatory deeds. Thanks to the enthusiastic support of the community, the Hennepin County map was finished early in 2020.