How America Segregated Asian Americans: Racial Housing Covenants



  • Students will be able to explore the role of racial housing covenants in segregating Asian American communities, as well as research and determine their modern-day social and economic consequences.
  • Students will practice analyzing primary and secondary sources, including determining the central ideas, summarizing, and using specific textual or technical evidence to make a conclusion.
  • Students will evaluate multiple perspectives throughout a range of sources and will be able to formulate their own arguments relying on textual evidence.


Since the 20th century, racial housing covenants and restrictive deeds have been an integral part of real estate and a major tool for covert segregation. Housing segregation perpetuated by racial-housing covenants has affected access to wealth, schools, and determination of other socio-economic factors. Covenants existed in cities all over America, and students will have the opportunity to research their breadth and implications in these activities, Although restrictive deeds used a variety of language, ranging from explicitly restricting Asian-American ethnicities, to restricting all non-Caucasian people in general, this lesson plan will specifically focus on their role in segregating Asian-American communities.

*Teacher Note: A vast majority of the restrictive deeds include racist language and outdated terms. Please refrain from speaking these words out loud or encouraging students to read them out loud.


  1. What was the government’s role in perpetuating residential segregation of Asian Americans?
  2. How have these policies have long term/ modern day effects on the Asian American community?
  3. How is de jure segregation in the form of covenants/laws/judicial rulings different from individual prejudice/racism?