Historical Perspective: Thankful 'restrictive' housing is gone

By Jerry Kasten

Driving north on Peavy Road earlier this week, I came to a red-light stop at Millmar Drive.
To my right was Bryan Adams High School, where I had taught for many years in the ’60s and ’70s.
But to my left were probably the same homes I saw for the first time in August 1963 on the first day of faculty meetings before school was to start.
Missing now, thankfully, in front of these homes was a very large black-and-red-lettered white sign. The largest letters had read, “Home for Sale… RESTRICTED HOUSING IN THIS AREA!”
Suddenly, the beep behind me reminded me to drive on, interrupting my thoughts. But as I went on, my thoughts lingered on the past.
I remembered that in 1963, being new to Dallas, I wasn’t sure if “restricted” meant “No Blacks,” “No Jews,” or both. That sign may have been neatly painted, but it was ugly!
I later learned that many house deeds also had deed restrictions until civil rights legislation and federal court decisions eventually put an end to the practice.
If your property deed is old enough to contain a race or religion restriction clause (which of course is unenforceable today), what you have is an historical artifact. Use it to remind yourself and others of our shameful past.
Fortunately, Dallas now has an exemplary Holocaust Museum and an African-American Museum which we should visit with our children to learn and understand the history of hatred and discrimination in our nation and in the world … . “Never again.”

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