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Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project

Toni Morrison turned to the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project when researching her novel, Home, about a Korean War veteran who spends time in a Seattle hospital then returns to his native Georgia. She has had lots of company. This project and related projects in the Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium have logged more than 13 million page views. Below are some of the articles, reviews, radio, and TV programs about SCR&LHP.

How this project helped change state law

Three times the Washington State Legislature has changed state law in response to the work we have done to uncover the history of racial restrictive covenants, most recently in Spring 2021 with House Bill 1335 (introduced by Rep. Javier Valdez) which authorized our team and one from Eastern Washington University to conduct a statewide survey to locate the racist deed restrictions that still haunt property records. The project will report results in 2022 and 2023. Earlier laws laid the groundwork. [more] Earlier laws laid the groundwork.

In this Seattle Times article, Heidi Groover explains the implications of the 2021 law while profiling our racial restrictive covenants maps and database: "Racist restrictions in old home deeds across Washington state will get expanded scrutiny", Seattle Times, May 1, 2021

The Seattle Times reported the 2018 law and surveyed our database of nearly 500 racial restrictive covenants:
Katherine Long, "The deed to your Seattle-area home may contain racist language; here's how to fix it," Seattle Times, January 7, 2019.

Other local and national news articles:

"King Co. enables owners to remove discriminatory deed restrictions"
by Sunny Wang, Real Change News, December 29, 2021.

"Does the deed to your Seattle-area home contain racist language? Next year, you can formally remove it"
by Amanda Zhou, Seattle Times, December 15, 2021)

"Home, Not So Sweet Home"
by Nancy Joseph, Perspectives, December 3, 2021)

"Racist language is still woven into home deeds across America. Erasing it isn't easy, and some don't want to"
by Nick Watt and Jack Hannah, CNN, February 15, 2020)

"What Seattle's Redlining History tells us about wealth today"
by Eric Keto, KCTS/, November 9, 2018)

“100 Years of Seattle Activism”
by Madeline Ostrander and Valerie Schloredt (Seattle Met, December 2017)

“A Story of Liberation Preserved in LGBTQ History Project
by Jonathan Hiskes (Medium, November 28, 2016)

“UW Debuts LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History Project
by Mike Andrew (Seattle Gay News, October 14, 2016)

“Seattle’s History of Housing Segregation Remains Apparent Today””
by Mike Lewis (KIRO Radio and, October 13, 2016)

“New LGBTQ Activism in Seattle History project debuts Oct. 10”
by Peter Kelley (UW Today, October 4, 2016)

“Was your Seattle Neighborhood Racist?”
by Vanessa Ho (Seattle PI, May 17, 2014)

“Seattle’s Ugly Past: Segregation in Our Neighborhoods”
by Knute Berger (Seattle Magazine, March 2013)

“Toni Morrison Talks with Google about Creativity”
by Hillel Italie (Associated Press, February 27, 2013)

“Racism Shadows Property Covenants”
by Greg Latshaw (USA Today, August 3, 2010)

“UW Project Sheds Light on Klan as Force in the State”
by Lornet Turnbull (Seattle Times, November 13, 2008)

“Web Site Exposes Previously Undocumented KKK Activity in Washington”
by Joel Schwarz (University Week, November 13, 2008)

“Seattle Takes Steps to Recognize Minorities’ Role in Shaping Region
by William Yardley (New York Times, Feb.6 2008)

“Professor’s Civil Rights Project Exposes Seattle’s Segregationist Past”
by Siv Prince (UW Daily, February 14, 2007)

“Remember Seattle’s Segregated History “
by James Gregory (Seattle PI, December 12, 2006)

“The Story of Seattle’s Black Panther Party”
by Cara Soloman (Seattle Times, May 21, 2006)

“History of the Panthers Comes Alive in Classrooms, Meetings, Website”
by Joel Schwarz, ( May 16, 2006)

“Homeowners find records still hold blot of racism”
by Lornet Turnbull (Seattle Times, June 3, 2005)

“An ugly stain of racism exposed” editorial (Seattle Times, June 6, 2005)

“Stain of Racism Still Haunts Seattle Neighborhoods”
by James Gregory (Seattle Times, April 6, 2006)

“New Web site shows Seattle’s civil rights history”
by Nancy Wick (University Week, April 7, 2005)

Housing Affordability and Livability Proposals debate (2015)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda report cites the Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project’s research on racially restrictive covenants as the basis for its claim that “Seattle’s zoning has roots in racial and class exclusion and remains among the largest obstacles to realizing the City’s goals for equity and affordability.” This one sentence has in turn sparked a public debate in Seattle about whether single family zoning is inherently racist. The findings of the SCR&LHP were discussed in a number of articles.

UW professors join single-family zoning, segregation debate sparked by mayor’s task force
by Daniel Beekman (Seattle Times, July 21, 2015)

Racism is a false issue in Seattle’s land-use zoning
editorial (Seattle Times, July 22, 2015)

Segregation by Design?
by Josh Kelety (Publicola, July 21, 2015)

9 words that shook Seattle: Are our zoning roots really racial?
by Eric Scigliano (Crosscut, July 20, 2015)

Academic articles:

“Rethinking Race and Place: The Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project,”
by Trevor Griffey (OAH Magazine of History, January 2012)

“A City Learns its Civil Rights History while a University Learns New Ways to Engage Students,”
by James N. Gregory and Trevor Griffey (Diversity & Democracy, Spring 2008)

“Teaching a City about its Civil Rights History: A Public History Success Story”
by James N. Gregory and Trevor Griffey (American Historical Association Perspectives, April 2007)

“Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project: An Online Video Oral History Collection”
by James N. Gregory and Trevor Griffey (Northwest Oral History Association Newsletter, Spring 2007)

“News from Abroad-USA”
by James N. Gregory and Trevor Griffey (Oral History, Spring 2007)

Television programs:

“Segregated Seattle: From Redlining to Gentrification” Seattle Channel: a talk and panel discussion at the Museum of History and Industry, March 13, 2018

“Seattle’s segregated history laid out in property deeds” Alan Schauffler, KING 5 News, April 8, 2009

“The History of Segregation in Seattle,” Seattle Channel: a lecture by James Gregory, Seattle City Hall, November 8, 2006, Sponsored by the City of Seattle Department of Executive Administration Race and Social Justice Change Team. The Seattle Channel broadcasts this talk periodically. Click here for the schedule or follow this link to watch the video now:

Radio programs :

“Divided by design: racially restrictive deed clauses remain on the books despite being illegal” Ideastream (NPR Cleveland station WCPN) interview with James Gregory by Amy Eddings, November 15, 2017.

“Why is Seattle so racially segregated?” KUOW, by Jamala Henderson, September 20, 2016.

“Read The Fine Print: Your Home May Have A Hidden Racist Past” KUOW interview with James Gregory by Ross Reynolds, May 21, 2014.

“The War on Poverty Helped Shape Seattle Activism” KUOW interview with Trevor Griffey by Ross Reynolds, January 9, 2014.

“This American Life: Seattle’s Segregated Past” KUOW interview with James Gregory by Jamala Henderson, April 10, 2010.

“Hidden in Old Home Deeds, a Segregationist Past” by Julie Rose, Weekend Edition Sunday, National Public Radio, February 7, 2010.

“The History of the KKK in Washington State” KBCS interview with Trevor Griffey, March 12, 2009.

“Seattle Civil Rights History” KUOW hour long program broadcast January 2, 2007. Trevor Griffey and James Gregory interviewed by “Weekday” host Steve Scher with calls from listerners.

YouTube programs :

“Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History – James Gregory” Lightening presentation at Western Humanities Alliance conference on New Modes of Scholarly Communication, UC San Diego, November 1, 2013

Reports and reviews:

Journal of American History (March 2017) by Erik Loomis

Journal of American History (March 2009) review by Peter Cole

Digital History (December 2009) review by Charles Klinetobe

History News Network (August 8, 2007)

History Matters (November 22, 2006)

The Scout Report, Internet Scout Project (December 1, 2006)

Civil Rights


Humanities, Arts, Sciences, Technology, Advanced Collaboratory (April 4, 2006)

Intute: Social Sciences (December 4, 2006)

National Council on Public History, News and Notes (December 2006- January 2007)


Barclay Simpson Prize for Scholarship in Public (University of Washington), 2015

James D. Clowes Award for the Advancement of Learning Communities (University of Washington) 2007