Racial Covenant Modification

The Town is documenting the history of racially restrictive covenants to determine the extent of their use in the Town. We welcome you to join us in this effort. Racial deed restrictions were recorded on some San Anselmo sites when a lot was sold. Backed by federal legislation, home loans were prohibited to certain races and ethnicities and lending policies also required builders to record racially restrictive covenants. This type of systemic racism prohibited people of color from purchasing homes in the Town and in Marin County. Racial covenants determined housing options in Marin that still affect neighborhoods today. Although racial covenants are illegal and cannot be enforced, they are an offensive and painful reminder of a history of racial hostility and exclusion. We encourage property owners to act to strike out illegal text with a Racial Covenant Modification.

The Planning Department is available to help you with finding any racial covenant and completing the modification process: (415) 258-4636 or planning@townofsananselmo.org  We welcome information on restrictions (and lack thereof) to contribute to our project and map below.

The County of Marin is also mapping areas in the County that have been subject to racially restrictive covenants.  Email or mail them a copy of racially restrictive covenant documents. The Marin County Community Development Agency will certify racially restrictive language is illegal and inconsistent with County values.

How to Modify a Racially Restrictive Covenant

Map In Progress: Subdivisions in San Anselmo Where Racially Restrictive Covenants Have Been Located (to date)

  • Red = Racially restrictive covenant found for site or for at least one lot in the subdivision. Click on an area to read an example restriction.
  • Green = No racially restrictive covenants found on one or more title reports for the site or subdivision, but there may still be a possibility of a racially restrictive covenant on a deed or title report that was not examined.
  • Bright Green = Racially Restrictive Covenant modified
  • Yellow = Town needs information on the subdivision, such as Title reports

Learn More

Segregated by Design video

Mapping Inequality interactive map

Segregation/Integration interactive map

Mapping Prejudice U. of MN Visualizing the hidden histories of race and privilege in the built environment

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein (2017). Available locally from Whyte's Booksmith Inc., 615 San Anselmo Avenue and Town Books, 411 San Anselmo Avenue 

Color of Law book