Racist Covenant Removed From Deed to Manchester Home

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Surprised and uncomfortable- that’s how a father and son felt- when they saw what was written on the deed to their Manchester home. They went to the legislature to get it changed.  

“It was surprising, it was upsetting,” David Ware said of the deed language.” To see such a blatant expression of the racial attitudes that were prevalent back then. 

Ware and his father Fred were researching the history of their home when they came across the rules in their home's deed. 

The deed essentially says: “the property may be used or occupied only by person of the white race with the exception of domestic servants,” Ware said. 

The Connecticut legislature passed a law that creates a process for this language to be voided. 

Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, who co-chairs the Judiciary Committee says it was long overdue. 

“There are things that our history has put in place that we might not even be aware of that still can have impact,” Winfield said. 

The legislation allowing homeowners to void the racist covenant was unanimous. 

“We should go back and make sure we’re dealing with a problem that doesn't necessarily bar you from buying a home anymore but certainly can have impact on an individual if they discover it,’ Winfield said. 

“I think this is a good step in the right direction, but there’s a whole lot more work that needs to be done on reference to discriminatory practices in housing,” Scot X. Esdaile, Connecticut president of the NAACP, said.

There’s a long history of discrimination in certain communities, Esdaile said.  

“These particular documents actually show how nasty and dirty and filthy racism has infiltrated and proceeded all throughout America,” Esdaile said.

NBC Connecticut looked and saw dozens of examples in the Manchester land records. 

Ware said his research turned up about 248 in Manchester. The covenants have been unenforceable since 1948, but many remain on paper today. 

“Now you’ll be able to see a present-day repudiation of those documents,” Ware said.

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