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One Book One San Diego 2023/2024: Housing Discrimination

This guide includes information on Ryan Library's programming around the One Book One San Diego book of the year, in addition to resources for further study related to the book's themes. This year's guide focuses on racism's impact on society.

Chapter 4 on Housing

Chapter 4, "Ignoring the Canary," is on predatory lending practices and housing discrimination and the impact both have on society-at-large. This page provides further resources on the topic both broadly and locally, including information on San Diego and California.

NOTE: Further reading and additional resources on other chapters of the book will be forthcoming.

Resources on Housing Discrimination

Some of the resources below require a PLNU OneLogin to access. For help accessing a resource, contact Librarian Robin Lang:

Encyclopedia Articles:

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles:

Websites and Newspaper Articles:

Search Terms

If you're interested in learning more about housing discrimination in American history, considering using the below search terms in library's article search box or several different library databases, to learn more:

HOUSING discrimination

Race discrimination in housing

Fair Housing Act of 1968 (U.S.)

Covenants (Law)

Deeds (Law)

REAL covenants


Racial Covenants

Racial covenants are restrictive clauses added to original land grant deeds prohibiting certain people from purchasing the property, and in some cases, even residing on the property, unless as a hired employee. Racial covenants were outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1948, but were never officially removed from grant deeds and some grant deeds after 1948 continued to include them.

To see an example of a racial clause on a land grant deed in San Diego County, see: Original 1947 Grant Deed with Racial Clause

From Lassiter, M. D. (2010). Suburbs and politics. In M. Kazin (Ed.), The Princeton encyclopedia of American political history. Princeton University Press.

“By the 1920s, real estate developers and homeowners associations promoted restrictive covenants in most new subdivisions, often specifically excluding occupancy by African Americans, Asians, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, American Indians, and Jews. The NAACP repeatedly challenged the constitutionality of racial covenants during the early decades of the modern civil rights movement, but the Supreme Court continued to permit their enforcement until the Shelley v. Kraemer decision of 1948” .


"Shelley v. Kraemer found that racial covenants violate the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states 'no state. . . [shall] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'”

Redlining Map of San Diego

This redlining map for the City of San Diego from 1935 shows 'grades' given to neighborhoods based on perceived risks to banks offering mortgages. Typically, banks would not lend to homebuyers trying to purchase properties in the 'red' neighborhoods and Black homebuyers, and other people of color, were prevented from obtaining mortgages for properties in 'green' neighborhoods.

The website Mapping Inequality allows you to zoom into different regions in the country to view redlining maps for different municipalities. To view maps, visit:

(To view a larger version of the map, click on the map below.)

(Nelson, R. K., Winling, L., Marciano, R., & Connolly, N. (1935). Street map of the City of San Diego. Mapping Inequality.

Some Solutions to Correct Housing Discrimination

  • Educate ourselves on racial covenants, redlining, and other discriminatory housing practices

  • Donate to entities like the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program, which helps Black people in San Diego put together a downpayment on a home

  • Legislation, voting, and community activism:

    • Support Rent control 

    • Support use of community land trusts to fund residential housing in the form of housing co-ops

    • Support giving home sellers incentives to sell to buyers who are already from the community and who aren’t necessarily the highest bidder 

    • Support better housing development policies, such as more affordable housing requirements for all new multi-unit building projects

    • Support restrictions on flipping houses

  • Be a good neighbor

Other ideas or questions? Please email to

Books: Print and eBooks

These ebooks are available through Ryan Library and require a PLNU OneLogin.