Seattle and King County racial restrictive covenants
Here are preliminary maps and lists of racial restrictive covenants for Seattle and its suburbs. Combing through the property records in the King County Archives, we have uncovered deeds and other documents containing restrictions that apply to more than 34,000 properties. Our work is not finished, so this is meant to be suggestive, not definitive. Racial restrictions were imposed by many developers and neighborhood associations in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s. They remain part of property records today, although since 1968, discrimination on the basis of race has been illegal. The links below lead to five pages featuring different kinds of maps, lists, and information that show the prevalence and legacy of restrictive covenants in King County.
This interactive map shows 413 restricted subdivisons. Scroll the list, read the language of restrictions, learn the names of the developers.
34,000 restricted parcels
This map shows the exact location of more than 34,000 properties that carried racial and sometimes religious restrictions.
Race and segregation maps
Here we map the neighborhood-by-neighborhood distributions of Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latino, and White people across eight decades.
Homeownership by race
In 2018, 62% of White families were homeowners compared to only 27% of Black families. Here we track homeownership rates since 1960, showing the alarming disparity in the value of homes and ownership rates.
History of Seattle covenants
This essay, by Catherine Silva, details the history of covenants in different King County neighborhoods, charting both the legal and social enforcement of racial covenants and the struggles to prohibit them.