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Race restrictive covenants

Restrictive covenants in real estate and property law are agreements that can impose many types of limitations or prohibitions on building and land use issues ranging from significant to superficial.

Agreement and Declaration of Race Restri

Glendale and other cities used restrictions based on the buyer’s race, religion, or ethnicity that were written into deeds by real estate developers in planned communities and subdivisions. The covenants restricted who could buy property, and prevented a buyer from selling to, or allowing use or occupancy by, anyone not white. The advertised benefit of these restrictions was to create “ideal” neighborhoods and purported to preserve property owners investments in their homes and keep communities “safe” by keeping them white.

These racially restrictive covenants became so widespread that ninety percent of the housing developments built in the United States after WWII were restricted. 

In these documents from the 1920s, the exclusionary language is in its most explicit form. The “Agreement and Declaration of Race Restrictions” was created by the Property Research Association to be given to anyone buying a parcel of land in a Glendale housing development. It specifies that it is to the benefit of every owner that the land parcels are owned and occupied by “persons of the White or Caucasian race” with only one exception—servants or employees.  

In a letter responding to a questionnaire sent by the California Real Estate Association (CREA) the Glendale Realty Board pledges to work with them to enforce racial restrictions in developments and ensure Glendale stays “All American.” The questionnaire specifies that there are no "Mexican or colored sections," and "very few Japanese." This is established by no local ordinances, but instead by "special understandings between local residents." "Real Estate practice," and "insisting on the subdividers putting in and enforcing suitable race restrictions." Whether the advertisements were coded or straight forward, the policy was clear: The Glendale Realty Board, and the Glendale brokers, as a whole, cooperated in every way to keep Glendale an 'All-American City.'

CREA Survey (1927 Mar 1).jpg
CREA Survey (1927 Mar 1).jpg



Glendale’s real estate market was booming in the 1920s thanks to widespread advertisement campaigns promising low prices and gorgeous views of the hills. The ads use various types of direct or coded, exclusionary language to refer to race and social class restrictions. The development of Fairview claims “prices and terms so low that they are within reach of everybody,” while also listing “race restrictions.” Brockmont Park promises interested parties they'll be "away from apartment houses and corner stores" and refers to “[c]arefully devised restrictions.”An advertisement for the Verdugo Woodlands entices buyers to “live in a Country Club environment.” Even without referring to exclusions, these advertisements declare the race and class of desired residents, excluding people of color and the poor.  

Race restrictions Rossmoyne (1928, Apr 1

Copyright notice: Any materials under copyright in this exhibit are covered by the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act.  Permission and preferred attribution were requested of all copyright holders.




"Agreement and Declaration of Race Restrictions." Glendale Real Estate Board Collection, Glendale

Central Library. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture.


Register of the Survey of Race Relations Records, 1924-1927.Box 13:15. Hoover Institution Archives.

Stanford University. Online Archive of California,




"Rossmoyne Advertisement." Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 1928, p. A4. ProQuest,

Haynes, E.G. “Birdseye view of Casa Verdugo Villa tract, a sub-division of a portion of the old Rancho

San Rafael.” Map Collection on Los Angeles, California, the United States and the World, UCLA Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA. Online Archive of California,

Rieder, M. “Entrance to Casa Verdugo.” E.F. Mueller Postcard Collection, California History Section Picture Catalog. Calisphere,


"Brockmont Park Advertisement." Los Angeles Times, 2 Jan. 1927, p. E4. ProQuest,


“Campbell Heights Advertisement.” Glendale Dally Press, 20 Oct. 1923, p. 14. California Revealed,

“Fairview Advertisment.” Glendale Daily Press, 21 Nov. 1922, p. 5, Reliable Home Builders’ Directory and Guide. Glendale Pub. and Print Co., Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. California Revealed,


“La Crescenta Advertisement.” Glendale Daily Press, 20 Oct. 1923, p. 14. Glendale Pub. and Print Co., Glendale Library, Arts & Culture. California Revealed,


"Kenilworth Park Advertisement." Glendale Daily News, 21 Apr. 1923, p. 2, Realty Section. Internet Archive,

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