Racism in Ramsey County

My childhood home

Racism is everywhere it is baked into our culture and our communities. As racism pertains to housing it goes way back.

I have been helping with the “Mapping Prejudice” project and reading deeds for properties in Ramsey County. Some of them have deed restrictions that prevent people of color from purchasing the property.  The deeds are going to be mapped . . hence the name “mapping prejudice”

For me looking at the deeds has been interesting because I have lived in St. Paul for a long time and my Mother’s family is from St. Paul too. I recognize the family names of people I went to school with.

Here is a restrictive covenant I found on a deed yesterday:

Said property shall not be sold or rented to or used by any person except a person or persons of the White Caucasian Race, but persons or other races may occupy the premises when employed as servants by the owners.

There are entire developments in Ramsey County with racially restrictive covenants. I have found the covenants in 10 subdivisions in White Bear Lake, St. Paul, and Vadnais Heights.

Racial covenants have hurt people of color and their families. They can no longer be enforced but they are part of the reason why we have neighborhoods where mostly white people live.

Homeownership isn’t just about having a place to live it is also a way to build wealth.

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