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Marin County has launched a project to identify and rectify policies that prevented people of color from purchasing homes and led to segregated neighborhoods.

Although such policies have been illegal since 1964, many public agencies — including throughout Marin County — still have not removed racially restrictive covenants that prohibit the purchase, lease, or occupation of a piece of property to a particular group of people, primarily Blacks and African Americans.

The county Board of Supervisors approved a staff report in May on the Restrictive Covenant Project.

Through the collaboration of the county’s Community Development Agency, Office of Equity and the Assessor-Recorder’s Office, county residents are offered several ways to participate in the project.

Residents who own homes built in 1970 or earlier are encouraged to check the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) mentioned in their real estate documents to see if discriminatory language exists. If found, the property owner will have a chance to file a public statement protesting the offensive passages with the Assessor-Recorder’s Office.

In addition, the county encourages residents, former residents and families who currently live or formerly lived in Marin County to share personal stories about their lived experiences in the county to help create a narrative history. One of the videos is available for viewing online.

A suburban neighborhood in Marin County is pictured in an undated photo. Racially restrictive covenants that were commonplace until the mid-1960s often restricted Blacks from purchasing or renting property.(Photo courtesy of Matin History Museum via Marin County Restrictive Covenant Project)