WASHINGTON—A new bill backed by a slate of Senate Democrats would allocate competitive grants to colleges and universities to analyze, digitize and map historic housing discrimination records, creating the first national database of its kind.
The focus of the effort is to research covenants attached to housing deeds, which emerged nationwide around the early 20th century, that made it harder for Black people in many cities to own property.
Sen. Tina Smith (D., Minn.), who wrote the bill, is working to get Democratic colleagues and at least some Republicans to back the effort after introducing the Mapping Housing Discrimination Act on Thursday afternoon.
“The impact of that discrimination endures today,” Ms. Smith said in an interview, adding that the point of the grants was to form a national database that can “shape the policies that we need to put in place to address this longstanding and enduring discrimination.”“I also have no doubt that this research will inspire policy makers and local community activists to come up with new ideas,” she said.
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