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Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Tacoma and Pierce County racial restrictive covenants

Restrictive covenants were one of the reasons that across many generations people of color found it difficult to live in Pierce County except at Fort Lewis. In 1970, nearly one-third of the county's Black population were attached to the military. Most of the rest lived in Hilltop neighborhood near the bend in the I-5 freeway. Asian and Latino people numbered only 5373, a quarter of them stationed at the military base. The census counted 3343 Puyallup people and other Indigenous Americans in 1970 but the tribe had lost control of reservation lands. Overall, the county population was 93% white. These numbers reflect patterns of both segregation and exclusion. And that history plays out today in homeownership rates, family wealth, and other effects of exclusion and inequality.

The links below lead to four pages featuring different kinds of maps, lists, and information. Two show the locations of restrictive covenants. One demonstrates the lingering effects of differential access to homeownership. The fourth maps the neighborhood-by-neighborhood distributions of African Americans, Asian Americans, Indigenous Americans, Latinos, and Whites across six decades.

4,500 restricted parcels

This map shows the exact location of more than 4,000 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 87 subdivisons with known restrictions. Scroll the list, read the language of restrictions, learn the names of the developers.

Race and segregation maps

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

Homeownership by race

In 2018, 68% of White families were homeowners compared to only 34% of Black families. Here we track homeownership rates since 1960, showing the alarming disparity in the value of homes and ownership rates.