Mapping Segregation

Mapping Segregation in Washington DC is a public history project documenting the historic segregation of DC’s housing, along with its schools, playgrounds, and other public spaces. To date the project has focused on racially restrictive housing covenants. Racial covenants had a dramatic impact on the development of the nation’s capital decades before government-sanctioned redlining policies were implemented in cities across the country.

Follow our work:

Our first story map describes how the city’s racial geography has been shaped by segregation. It focuses on legal challenges to covenants and where they took place, revealing why DC was central to the struggle to abolish restricted housing nationwide.

- Our new story map shows how developers shaped the racial landscape of Ward 4.

- We presented this PowerPoint on Brightwood’s Historic African American Community at the Shepherd Park Library on April 27, 2017.

- Don’t miss our article in Washington History (spring 2017) on Bloomingdale’s role in the legal fight against restrictive covenants. Buy the journal or read the article on JSTOR. (Use MyJSTOR to create a free account, which allows for adding three articles at a time to your “shelf” for reading online.)

Organized by Prologue DC and GIS mapping specialist Brian Kraft of JMT Technology Group, the project was launched in January 2014 and has been funded in part by Humanities DC and the DC Preservation League.

Mapping Segregation is an ongoing project, so please check this page or our Facebook page for updates. Or email and ask us to keep you posted. We also welcome your comments!

Media coverage of the project:
MidCity DC News DC
The Northwest Current (see page 24, and please ignore factual errors)
Letter to editor re: Northwest Current article (see page 10)
Hola Cultura Blog
Best of the Web, Washington History, Spring 2016, page 53
Greater Greater Washington (article by David Alpert)
DCist (in the Morning Roundup)
Poverty and Race, April-June 2016, page 19
Preservation Leadership Forum Blog
Washington Jewish Week


Photos in top banner, left to right: Charles Hamilton Houston (photo by Addison N. Scurlock, circa 1931, Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution); Washington Post, December 6, 1941; 1737-1747 First Street NW (photo by Mara Cherkasky, 2015); Baltimore Afro American, January 16, 1926.