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Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

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 44,000 properties. Our work is not finished. Racial restrictions were imposed by many developers and neighborhood associations in the decades when they were legal prior to 1968. They remain part of property records today. 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.

44,000 restricted parcels

This interactive map shows the exact location of more than 44,000 properties that carried racial and sometimes religious restrictions. Zoom to see addresses and restriction language.

Restricted subdivisions

A set of interactive maps and lists highlighting 413 subdivisons with known restrictions. Scroll the list, read the language of restrictions, learn the names of the developers.

Race and segregation maps
1940-2020

Here we map the neighborhood-by-neighborhood distributions of Black, Asian, Indigenous, Latino, and White people across eight decades.

Homeownership by race 1970-2022

In 2021-22, 62% of White families were homeowners compared to only 28% of Black families, one of the lowest rates in the nation. Here we track homeownership rates since 1970, 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.