Exclusion: Redlining and Racial Covenants, DeKalb


The second generation of Ellwoods included a racial covenant in the Ellfield Addition, which was created in 1925. The document states:

“The ownership and occupancy of lots and buildings in this addition are forever restricted to members of the pure white race. No negro, mulatto, Chinese, Japanese, or person of any race or mixture of races other than a person of the pure white race, shall acquire title to any lot or building in this addition or acquire the right to occupy any such lot or building, or part of lot or building, as owner, tenant, roomer or otherwise, except that the white owner or white tenant of any lot or lots not of the pure white race to occupy a room or rooms in his said residence building or in his garage building appurtenant to his said residence building, during the term of such domestic service” [1].  

This was not something that was only known about by a few people. There was a half-page advertisement in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle promoting this new subdivision and its restrictions:

DeKalb Daily Chronicle, October 15, 1925.

Map of Ellfied’s Addition, Atlas and Plat Book of DeKalb County Illinois, 1929.

Similar language appears in the rules and regulations for DeKalb’s Fairview Cemetery from 1951: “Ownership of space in Fairview Cemetery is restricted to members of the Caucasian race.”[2



[1] Abstract of the Ellfield Addition. 12 August 1925, DeKalb, IL. In the collection of the Ellwood House Museum.

[2] Rules and Regulations, Fairview Cemetery and Fairview Memorial Gardens, DeKalb, Illinois, Adopted by the Board of Directors, December 11, 1951. DeKalb County History Center Archives.

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