Many deeds prior to 1970 had language of “Whites only”, and to this day, there are still unwritten covenants that exclude people of color from the ability to purchase property. The image above is a primary example of how minorities in America have been disenfranchised, prohibited from taking part in “The American Dream”.
Here’s an excerpt from the DC Policy Center, which provides some context behind the poster:
In February 1944 Clara Mays, an African American federal government employee, purchased a three-story rowhouse in the Bloomingdale neighborhood, just north of Florida Avenue, close to Howard University. The South Carolina native and her large family had been forced to seek a new home when the place they had been renting was sold. Mays settled on 2213 First Street NW, part of an elegant Bloomingdale row built in 1904. Warned that she would be taking a risk in buying the house because a racially restrictive covenant barred its sale to African Americans, Mays went ahead anyway because she lacked other options. When white neighbors sued to stop the Mays family from occupying the property, a D.C. court ruled in their favor. Mays and her family, which included three sisters and four nieces, were given 60 days to get out.
Residential segregation by race persists in the United States—especially in larger and older cities in the East and Midwest such as Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, and Newark, where levels have declined only slightly in recent decades.=