Mapping Segregation in Washington DC

Mapping Segregation has its own website at, but please check here for project updates and links to our talks and media coverage. You can also follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or email us at and ask us to keep you posted.



We’ve finished mapping the results of our recent research of a sample of 20,000 DC deeds, completed in just five weeks with the assistance of hundreds of volunteers. This research shows that racially restrictive covenants were pervasive across the District, including in neighborhoods that were thought not to have used them.  The work was undertaken thanks to a Humanities Vision Partnership Grant from HumanitiesDC and our partnership with the Mapping Prejudice team at the University of Minnesota.

We’ve also created two new story maps: one showing more than 100 historic African American communities in the metropolitan area and another showing displacement in DC.

In addition, we’re on the way to completing our research of racial covenants in Ward 4 west of Rock Creek Park, supported by a grant from the DC Preservation League. We welcome you to help us! Please contact to get started.

Some of the oral history interviews we conducted for Mapping Segregation are now accessible on the DC Public Library website.

Awards and Recognition

Mapping Segregation was awarded a 2019 Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. A short video about the project is here.

Mapping Segregation’s work appears in the HUD-mandated study, Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice, which documents historic and ongoing patterns of racial discrimination in housing in DC (see pp 38-39).

The DC Mayor’s Office recommends Mapping Segregation as a resource for DC residents.

D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, a Project of Teaching for Change lists Mapping Segregation among five websites that can be used to introduce local D.C. area history to  students. 


Selected presentations

Humanities DC Oral History Coffee Chat (August 28, 2021)

Drawing Lines: How Race Shaped DC’s Housing Landscape (Jan. 27, 2021)

Race and Real Estate in 20th Century Washington DC (Sept. 21, 2020)

Mapping Segregation for TEDx Foggy Bottom (April 2019)



Mapping Prejudice Blog
Washington Business Journal
Petworth News
PBS, Legacy List (segment on racially restrictive covenants about 40 minutes in)
The Washington Post Magazine
Tanya Golash-Boza’s TEDx Talk, Univ. of California, Merced
The Black & White (Whitman High School magazine; see Lily Freeman article on page 13)
Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Washington Post

Kojo Nnamdi Show, WAMU

GW Today
The DC Line
Greater Greater Washington (article by Christina Sturdivant Sani, Nov. 2018)
D.C. Policy Center

Washington Jewish Week
City Lab

MidCity DC News
Best of the Web, Washington History, Spring 2016, page 53
Greater Greater Washington (article by David Alpert, May 2016)
DCist (in the Morning Roundup)
Poverty and Race, April-June 2016, page 19

2015 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

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.