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Grant number like: FEL-272632-21

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Colin H. Gordon
University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA 52242-1320)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2021 – 4/30/2022

Segregation and Race-Restrictive Covenants in St. Louis, 1890-1950

Research and writing leading to a book and digital companion on the origins, spread, and impact of race-restrictive deed covenants in greater St. Louis.

Race-restrictive deed covenants are an important, but relatively inaccessible and understudied, element of twentieth century urban history. “Dividing the City” employs newly discovered catalogues of restrictions (for the City of St. Louis and neighboring St. Louis County), which make those restrictions accessible and discoverable, and make it possible to trace their use and diffusion across greater St. Louis between 1890 and 1950. Close examination of these deed records, in the City of St. Louis and in suburban St. Louis County, will provide a detailed account of the use of deed restrictions (in new subdivisions and older neighborhoods alike), of their importance in inventing and sustaining racial segregation, and of the lasting impact of that segregation on local housing, wealth, and economic opportunity. In addition to the published monograph, a digital companion featuring interactive maps and documents will also be a resulting product of this proposal.