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Aug. 22, 2023

Media Advisory: Researchers to share results from Mapping Racist Covenants Project

  • What: Researchers from the University of Arizona School of Geography, Development and Environment will present findings on housing injustice and racial covenants in Tucson. The presentation will include an interactive online map and a panel of community speakers.
  • When: Friday, Aug. 25, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Where: City of Tucson Housing and Community Development department, Sentinel Building, 310 N. Commerce Park Loop.
  • Registration required: The event is open to the public. Registration is required by Aug. 23. Space is limited to 100 registrants, who can register to attend in person or on Zoom.

TUCSON, Ariz. —Researchers from the University of Arizona School of Geography, Development and Environment will present findings from the Mapping Racist Covenants project, which follows the history of institutional housing restrictions in Tucson and the effect on communities of color and marginalized groups. The event marks the completion of the project.

The project is part of a three-year $750,000 Digital Borderlands grant from University Libraries, funded by the Mellon Foundation. The grant focuses on integrating library services and expertise into storytelling and data-intensive humanities scholarship. Grant recipients were awarded $60,000 to highlight stories, people and events from the U.S.-Mexico borderlands region.

The Mapping Racist Covenants project explores the geography of racist codes, covenants and restrictions that barred African American, Asian, Mexican American, Native American and Jewish populations from moving into certain Tucson neighborhoods and subdivisions, focusing on those enacted between 1912 and 1968.

"The Mapping Racist Covenants project exemplifies how library services, digital scholarship tools, community engagement and faculty expertise can combine to reveal new insights into the past and inform a better future for fair and equitable housing practices in Tucson," said Shan C. Sutton, dean of University Libraries and principal investigator for the Digital Borderlands grant.

During the event, project director Jason Jurjevich, assistant professor in the School of Geography, Development and Environment, and his team will present the results of their research and reveal an interactive online map that outlines the geography of the codes. The map also includes race and ethnicity data from the 1930, 1960 and 2020 U.S. Census to allow Tucsonans and other users to visualize how these rules still impact homebuyers today.

"This story needs to be told. Racist covenants are a significant but largely unexplored example of institutional housing discrimination," Jurjevich said. "Our results demonstrate the broad geography of racist covenants, conditions and restrictions across Tucson neighborhoods, which made it difficult, and often impossible, for people of color and other minoritized communities to secure fair housing and achieve equal opportunity."

A community panel will also discuss individual and family connections to racist housing covenants, the legacy of discriminatory housing practices, housing equity more broadly and community next steps.

In addition to Jurjevich, the following participants will speak at the event:

Opening remarks

  • Ann Chanecka, interim director, City of Tucson Housing and Community Development department
  • Marion Chubon, program coordinator, Pima County Recorder's Office
  • Lynn Davis, director, Jewish Community Relations Council
  • Jane Zavisca, associate dean of research and graduate studies, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Community Panel

  • Stewart Chan, Tucson Chinese Cultural Center
  • Liane Hernandez, YWCA Southern Arizona
  • Marco Liu, community member
  • Delano Price, African American Museum of Southern Arizona
  • Liane Wong, San Gabriel Neighborhood Association and Tucson real estate agent.

Community partners include the African American Museum of Southern Arizona, the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center, the Tucson Jewish Museum and Holocaust Center, the City of Tucson Department of Housing and Community Development and Southwest Fair Housing Council.

Catering will be provided by Tucson Tamale Company.

For more information, visit the Mapping Racist Covenants project website.

Researcher contact:
Jason Jurjevich
School of Geography, Development, Environment

Media contact:
Laurie Galbraith
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2021 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $824 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 71 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. and Canada. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually.


College of Social and Behavioral Sciences