Colorado Trust: The Thread That Ties Segregation to Gentrification

Tom Romero, an associate professor of law at the University of Denver at the school's law library in Denver on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 with a copy of racially restrictive covenant for a1940s-era subdivision in Denver. (Photo by Joe Mahoney)

By Kristin Jones

There was a time—still in memory for some people living in Denver—when housing policies and practices weren’t pushing people of color out of Five Points, but hemming them in.

In the 1940s, Denver faced a housing crisis. Veterans returning from World War II elbowed for space, and rents skyrocketed. Like today’s housing shortage, this crisis affected some people more than others.

At the time, it was legal for housing covenants to specifically bar non-white residents from renting or owning homes—and they did, routinely.

University of Denver law professor and historian Tom I. Romero, II, JD, PhD, has collected racially restrictive covenants from Denver neighborhoods like Bonnie Brae, Clayton, Crestmoor, Regis Heights and many others, including this one established in the southwest Denver subdivision of Burns Brentwood in 1949: “Only persons of the Caucasian race shall own, use or occupy any dwelling erected upon said lots of tracts.”

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