When many of us purchase land or a new home, we typically don’t read all of the fine print in the property’s deed. We’re so excited that we finally own our asset(s) that we fail to recognize the clause in the deed that was actually written to restrict us from owning that particular property based on our race.
Recently, a white caller phoned into The Tom Leykis Show to expose a covenant written in his Maricopa County, Arizona deed which forbade the sale of that property to ”any person not of the White or Caucasian race.” Furthermore, the New York Times wrote a piece on a town in the Long Island community called Yaphank, which is owned by the German American Settlement League. Apparently, a family has sued the league because they’ve enforced the racial covenant written in their properties’ deeds that require homeowners to be primarily of “of German extraction.”
Although discriminative provisions imposed based on race or religion has been illegal and unenforceable since 1948, controversy still exists over selective enforcement by homeowner associations. Despite the wealth of people complaining that the covenants are indeed effective in many cases, violate their civil rights and the Fair Housing Act–protects people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for any housing–legislation refuses to change the language in the deeds simply because “they aren’t enforceable.”
What’s more disturbing is that there was even a five-acre subdivision in Clyde Hill, near Bellevue that is owned by the “Aryan race.” The deed of sale for each property on the land states, “This property shall not be resold, leased, rented or occupied except to or by persons of the Aryan race.”
Other examples of places with deed covenants that lists racial provisions, includes:
- Faulkland, Delaware– property may not be ”owned or occupied by any Negro or person of Negro extraction.”
- Vermont–prohibits the lease or sale of the property to ”members of the Hebrew race”
- Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, New York – covenants forbade the sale of real property to blacks, Jews and working-class people.
- Jackson Heights, Queens, New York – covenants employed to restrict occupancy to white, non-immigrant Protestants.
- Washington Park Subdivision, Chicago, Illinois – restrictive covenants used to exclude African-Americans.
- Palos Verdes, Los Angeles, California – covenants forbade an owner to sell or rent a house to anyone not of white or Caucasian race and to not permit African-Americans on their property with the exception of chauffeurs, gardeners and domestic servants
- Guilford, Baltimore, Maryland – covenants provided for exclusion against negros or persons of negro extraction
- Country Club District, Kansas City, MO and Johnson County, Kansas – restrictive covenants used to exclude African-Americans.
- Central District-Minor Neighborhood in the Squire Park Subdivision–The parties hereto signing and executing this instrument and the several like instruments relating to their several properties in said district, hereby mutually covenant, promise and agree each with the others, and for their respective heirs and assigns, that no part of said lands owned by them as described following their signatures to this instrument, shall never be used, occupied by or sold, conveyed, leased, rented or given to Negroes, or any person or persons of the Negro blood.
- Haller Lake neighborhood in the Marine Highlands subdivision–That neither the said premises or any house, building or improvement thereon erected, shall at any time be occupied by persons of the Ethiopian race, or by Japanese or Chinese, or any other Malay or Asiatic race, save except as domestic servants in the employ of persons not coming within this restriction.
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