Leaders Targeting Deeds With Discriminatory Language

Sep 25, 2017

State lawmakers want to make it easier for county recorders to change racist and discriminatory language in old housing documents brought to them by a homeowner, an attorney or a title company. Deeds to houses can still reflect blemishes in a neighborhood’s history.

Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor supports redacting language excluding people of certain races or religions from owning land. He says it can be found in tens of millions of housing ownership papers. And that’s just in Franklin County.

For example, O’Connor pointed to deeds in Upper Arlington, a central Ohio neighborhood, that would not allow the transfer of ownership to African Americans.

“They had to enact and engage in putting specific language there was intent here in these neighborhoods to in their eyes protect the homes and protect the neighborhood from being purchased by these individuals.”

Some have suggested that the original language should be maintained to remind people of a neighborhood’s history, sordid or not.