Lesson Recap and Review (I)

Class Discussion

Ask students to report on the contents of their deeds. And lead a discussion about what they found. Suggestions for guiding the discussion:

    • What did your deed(s) say bout who could live at the property?
    • Let talk about the language contained within your deed.
      • Some deeds will discuss a laundry list of ethnicities and racial groups that are not allowed to live at the property, some will only mention black people, some declare the property only for the use of white or caucasian people. Get the students to dig into these differences by asking probing questions. “Who had a deed that explicitly mentions a race other than white?” There is a temporal element to the construction of racially restrictive covenants: as time goes on, the beginning to use the language of “whites only” more frequently. Ask students the date on their covenant — if the evolution of covenant language over time is not organically apparent to the students you can inform them this was the case and ask them why they think this switch might have happened?
    • So we know what these racially restrictive covenants did directly: they legally disallowed people of color from buying owning or occupying the property for about 40 years. But what indirect consequences did this have? Items to have students consider:
      • Distribution of wealth. We know that property is one of the best and most stable investments you can make, and racial covenants, in conjunction with a host of other racist housing practices, bared people of color from buying homes and devalued the homes and neighborhoods they were able to secure.
      • Rent vs mortgage payments. Both mean money out the door each month, but what is the difference in the long term.
      • What if you can’t get a mortgage (redlining) — how likely are you to get a home of your own? What if you are discriminated in every other area of your life based on your race — is this going to help you be able to overcome this stacked deck?
    • What else do you want to know about these deeds?
      • It is likely that your students are going to ask where racially restrictive covenants existed. Get them to discuss what they can potentially learn from a spatial representation of these deeds before showing them the Mapping Prejudice Map. Once you have shown them the map, ask them to start thinking about how the information about where covenants are can change the research questions that we can ask.  It is suggested to Continue to the Spatial Thinking Lesson.


Potential extension assignments

  • Write a paper that discusses the language of covenants found.
    • Example paper assignment
      1. Code a total of 20 deeds for whether they are racially restrictive covenants and which
        demographic groups were included in the restrictions. This social science research method is
        known as a content analysis.
      2. Write a 3- to 5-page paper that describes:
        a. What you learned about segregation and discriminatory housing practices. Draw on the relevant course materials and terms from class.
        b. Discuss what you learned specifically from the deeds that you read. What type of language was used? What does it say about how race was understood at the time? What groups were restricted? What kind of language did the covenants
        use to exclude people of color?
        c. Explore the impact of reading primary source documents in this work. What would this experience have been like without them?





The Mapping Prejudice Curriculum Copyright © by Marguerite Mills. All Rights Reserved.

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