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Mapping Prejudice receives NEH support

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Mapping Prejudice new funding to develop its digital tools. This support will help us empower communities around the country map covenants.

Read about the NEH grant in this Continuum post

This image shows a mural at George Floyd Square.

Why Minneapolis? 

After George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25th, protests spread from the corner of 38th and Chicago to every corner of the globe. Just in the United States, more than 20 million people took to the streets. These mass demonstrations have made Black Lives Matter the largest protest in American history. This prompted many people to wonder: why did this start in Minneapolis? 

Mapping Prejudice has been exploring this question in dialogue with media makers over the last several months. These stories grew out of those conversations. We created this guide to reflect on the connections between the past and the present. How does the history of racial covenants help us understand George Floyd’s death and the protests it inspired? 

This image shows the logo for Mapping Prejudice's sister project "Welcoming the Dear Neighbor."

Welcoming the Dear Neighbor?

Mapping Prejudice has expanded its focus to include Ramsey County. Our team is doing this in collaboration with St. Catherine University, which has created the “Welcoming the Dear Neighbor?” initiative to incorporate this work of mapping racial covenants into its teaching, research, and community engagement. This effort embodies the St. Kate’s commitment to social justice and draws its name from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, who founded the university. These Sisters are animated by their desire to love their neighbors “without distinction.” “Welcoming the Dear Neighbor?” pays homage to this legacy while also questioning exactly who was welcomed “without distinction” in the community served by the university. 

Students at St. Kate’s were integral to mapping racial covenants in Hennepin County. Mapping Prejudice was incorporated into many classes at St. Kate’s. Professor Taiyon J. Coleman provided a moving testimonial to this effort with this piece, which linked her personal story to the unfolding map. 

“Welcoming the Dear Neighbor?” was inspired by the determination to reckon with structural racism and housing injustice in St. Paul. 

Mapping Prejudice will be working with “Welcoming the Dear Neighbor?” to: 

  • Build community awareness about housing injustice, past and present
  • Mobilize volunteers to map racial covenants
  • Learn from community members about the history of discriminatory housing policies in the Twin Cities

Please help us investigate this hidden history. So many questions remain. How common were these covenants? What areas of our community were reserved for white people only? How much land was restricted in this way? When were they put into place? What did they say? What are the legacies of these practices today? 

As we do this research together, we will explore the connections between past injustices and present inequities. This is the first step towards meaningful change. 

Get in touch with Welcoming the Dear Neighbor? or Mapping Prejudice to share your ideas for an event, a project or a line of research. We are looking for groups interested in co-hosting virtual volunteer sessions and collaborating around efforts to close racial disparities in Minnesota. 

Upcoming Events

Please join the effort to identify racial covenants in Ramsey County. Start by watching this training video. Then join Maggie Mills and Penny Petersen for one of our new volunteer sessions. Penny and Maggie are working with the “Welcoming the Dear Neighbor” team from St. Catherine’s University to create a collaborative online space to continue the work that we started in Hennepin County. Register for one of these events and then spend an hour learning from project leaders about how you can contribute to this important effort. 

Find links to register for all of our upcoming events on our website.

Activist/Volunteer Spotlight
Just Deeds Coalition

Our team has heard from many property owners who would like to renounce the racial covenant attached to their homes. Minnesotans can fill out this form to “discharge” the covenant

If you would like help with this process, call on the Just Deeds Coalition. This is a new group of volunteers with legal and real estate expertise. They want to provide assistance to folks who are navigating the paperwork necessary to discharge their deeds. Connect with Just Deeds here

Mapping Prejudice by the Numbers

Our volunteers are incredible! We are transcribing thousands of deeds each day. So far we have completed more than 142,526 of 248,020 deed transcriptions necessary to map covenants in Ramsey County. This means we are 57% complete. If our 4,639 rockstar volunteers continue working at their current pace, we will finish Ramsey County transcriptions in 167 days!

This image shows our progress. 142,526 of 248,020 deed transcriptions have been completed since the start of Ramsey County. This means we are 57% done with Ramsey County transcriptions. We have 4,639 rockstar volunteers! If our volunteers continue working at their current pace, we will finish Ramsey County transcriptions in 167 days! 

Top Volunteers!
This bar graph shows top volunteers this month by number of transcriptions with user FlorentinePogen at 5300, pfinep at 4947, c-boon at 4072, JoeyQuick at 3452, and jd.grant at 3210.
This bar graph shows top volunteers this month by number of transcriptions with user FlorentinePogen at 5300, pfinep at 4947, c-boon at 4072, JoeyQuick at 3452, and jd.grant at 3210.
Volunteer Today!
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