This interactive visualization shows the spread of racially-restrictive deeds across Minneapolis during the first half of the twentieth century.
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.
Racial covenants were legal documents that prohibited certain groups of people—especially African Americans—from buying or occupying property. These contracts were embedded in property deeds to make neighborhoods racially segregated.
Covenants were widely used throughout the country during the Jim Crow era. Yet unlike the segregated drinking fountains and waiting rooms of the American south, racially-restrictive deeds were invisible to the casual observer, lurking beneath the surface of the urban landscape. Real estate developers and public officials used these powerful tools for segregation 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 College and the University of Minnesota is working to identify and map the property contracts that rendered many neighborhoods in Minneapolis racially exclusive.
This effort will culminate in the first-ever comprehensive visualization of covenants for an American city. Our finished map will illuminate a hidden history of race in Minneapolis.