Skip to content
Civil Rights and Labor History Consortium / University of Washington

Bellingham and Whatcom County racial restrictive covenants

Restrictive covenants were one of the reasons that across many generations people of color found it difficult to live in Whatcom County. The 1970 census counted only 201 Black residents. Asians numbered only 543, while the Lummi reservation remained home to 1,949. The county population was 96.7% white. These numbers speak to something other than racial segregation. Exclusion was the issue. And its history plays out today in homeownership rates, family wealth, and other effects of exclusion and inequality.

The links below lead to three resources featuring different kinds of maps, lists, and information showing the neighborhoods impacted by racial restrictive covenants and the history of segregation and exclusion.

1,600 plus restricted parcels

This map shows the location of properties that carried racial and sometimes religious restrictions.

Restricted subdivisions

This interactive map shows 26 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 African Americans, Asian Americans, Indigenous Americans, Latinos, and Whites across four decades.