racial deed restrictions

Race and Metro Phoenix Real Estate History

(A Google Drive link is below that contains must-read information regarding race and Metro Phoenix real estate history.)

“𝑡𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’“π’†π’”π’Šπ’…π’†π’π’•π’Šπ’‚π’ 𝒍𝒐𝒕𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒓 π’‚π’π’š 𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒐𝒇 𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒃𝒆 𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒆𝒅, 𝒍𝒆𝒕, 𝒔𝒐𝒍𝒅, 𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒔𝒇𝒆𝒓𝒓𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐, 𝒐𝒓 π’π’„π’„π’–π’‘π’Šπ’†π’… π’ƒπ’š π’‚π’π’šπ’π’π’† π’˜π’‰π’ π’Šπ’”, 𝒐𝒓 π’Šπ’‡ π’Žπ’‚π’“π’“π’Šπ’†π’… π’˜π’‰π’π’”π’† 𝒔𝒑𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 π’Šπ’”, 𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’Žπ’†π’Žπ’ƒπ’†π’“π’” 𝒐𝒇 π’˜π’‰π’π’”π’† π’Šπ’Žπ’Žπ’†π’…π’Šπ’‚π’•π’† π’‡π’‚π’Žπ’Šπ’π’š 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π‘Ύπ’‰π’Šπ’•π’† 𝒐𝒓 π‘ͺπ’‚π’–π’„π’‚π’”π’Šπ’‚π’ 𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 π’•π’‰π’Šπ’” π’†π’™π’„π’π’–π’”π’Šπ’π’ 𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍 π’Šπ’π’„π’π’–π’…π’† 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏𝒔 π’‰π’‚π’—π’Šπ’π’ˆ π’‘π’†π’“π’„π’†π’‘π’•π’Šπ’ƒπ’π’† π’”π’•π’“π’‚π’Šπ’π’” 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π‘¨π’”π’Šπ’‚π’•π’Šπ’„, π‘΄π’†π’™π’Šπ’„π’‚π’, π‘¨π’Žπ’†π’“π’Šπ’„π’‚π’ π‘°π’π’…π’Šπ’‚π’, π‘΅π’†π’ˆπ’“π’, π‘­π’Šπ’π’Šπ’‘π’Šπ’π’, 𝒐𝒓 π‘―π’Šπ’π’…π’– 𝒓𝒂𝒄𝒆𝒔; π’Šπ’• π’ƒπ’†π’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒐𝒅, π’‰π’π’˜π’†π’—π’†π’“, 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 π’•π’‰π’Šπ’” π’‘π’“π’π’—π’Šπ’”π’Šπ’π’ 𝒔𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒃𝒆 π’Šπ’π’•π’†π’“π’‘π’“π’†π’•π’†π’… 𝒕𝒐 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’π’„π’„π’–π’‘π’‚π’π’„π’š 𝒂𝒔 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 π’ƒπ’š π’…π’π’Žπ’†π’”π’•π’Šπ’„ 𝒔𝒆𝒓𝒗𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒔 π’†π’Žπ’‘π’π’π’šπ’†π’… π’ƒπ’š 𝒂𝒏 π’π’˜π’π’†π’“ 𝒐𝒓 𝒕𝒆𝒏𝒂𝒏𝒕 π’π’„π’„π’–π’‘π’šπ’Šπ’π’ˆ 𝒕𝒉𝒆 π’‘π’“π’π’‘π’†π’“π’•π’š.”

This is a typical excerpt from deed restrictions all over Metro Phoenix (this particular excerpt is from Arrington Tract at the SW corner of McDowell Road and 44th Street), recorded in hundreds of neighborhoods from the 1920’s through the early 1950’s. Others are even more cringeworthy. The excerpt above was recorded in January, 1948 (when the term “perceptible strains” must have been a thing). There is a link to more restrictions like this one below.

All over the U.S., race-centric language was written and recorded as enforceable restrictions, all designed to protect the property values of white neighborhoods. These were further supported by the FHA’s willingness to only underwrite insurance for mortgages in white neighborhoods, the use of detailed mapping for the purpose of β€œsafe purchases”, and then local governments’ eventual takeovers of neighborhoods of color – identified later as key redevelopment areas ($$$) under the guise of β€œurban renewal”. Until the Fair Housing Act of 1968, a person of color’s neighborhood was mainly by force, not choice.

I did a quick search of property restrictions in Maricopa County, AZ for the month of January, 1948. They are very easy to find on the Recorder’s website. Two-thirds of new housing development restrictions recorded in that small span of 30 days had similar language. Two-thirds! As mentioned above, this went on for ~30 years in Metro Phoenix alone. People of color, including the Asian, Hispanic, and Black communities, were forced to live apart from white Phoenicians, often times purchasing or leasing land and homes from wealthy white developers. (Click here to see current sales activity in a few previously racially-restricted neighborhoods.)

Obviously, deed restrictions relating to race and religion are no longer enforceable, but they are still there, easy to find, and show up as title report attachments whenever these homes are bought and sold today – an ugly reminder of what life was like if you weren’t born white. Even with the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the long-term damage was done.

Segregation in U.S. housing is a major part of systemic racism, where it exists even in the most basic of human needs – shelter. Once you force someone to live β€œsomewhere else”, it is even easier to exclude them from your schools, your businesses, and your politics, while local government year after year underfunds the non-white neighborhood’s utility infrastructure, social/child programs, parks, and schools. The deck is stacked against residents of that community, a vicious cycle exacerbating the problems of quality of life, underperforming schools, and being unable to use real estate as a driver of family wealth building and wealth transfer.

Wrap your head around that.

If racial equality is important to you, and how it is linked to real estate and local history, you will find the contents of this folder to be essential reading – especially for your children – to get the picture of what life must be like when you constantly have to swim against the current. (My kids read the deed restrictions today, they couldn’t believe it.)

Even being part of the real estate industry for almost 20 years, I found this detailed history disgusting. It tells me everything I need to know about why we are at this social crisis point, and how brutal something as simple as housing has been to people of color.

Click here for these Drive link contents:

– 2008 article by Sheryll Cashin titled β€œRace, Class, and Real Estate” (excellent)

– City of Phoenix property histories for the African-American, Hispanic, and Asian-American communities (includes redlining maps)

– Deed restrictions for 12 different Metro Phoenix neighborhoods, recorded in January 1948

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