Orange County

‘Whites Only' Language Still Exists on Deeds in Orange County. Officials Are Working to Change That

"I think this is long overdue," he said. "We need to clean up this kind of language."

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A century of discrimination may soon change the way property deeds are recorded in Orange County.

Officials there may be paving the way to end more than 100 years of bias.

Long before there was a Richard Nixon Library, the Yorba Linda property was purchased by the future president's parents.

It would become a historical birthplace. The year was 1913. Back then the century old property deed contained what is known now as a racial covenant.

It says, "that no part of said premises, or the improvements thereof, shall ever be sold or leased to any individual other than that of the caucasian race."

By 1948 federal law banned this type of discrimination but on many deeds on properties dating before that time, the language still exists.

"We examine race relations," said Andrew Do, an Orange County supervisor. "Remnants from the past like this are painful reminders and it keeps the pain alive."

Do is working with Clerk Recorder Hugh Nguyen to remove the language.

"We want to fix it," Nguyen said. "We want to go forward not go backward."

But it has to be done one property at a time, because the recorded deeds have been attached to the homes and apartment buildings as decades old restrictions.

Author Stan Oftelie says Santa Ana didn't have the same covenants as other parts of the county, but he contends the reason the Black population here is 2% dates back, in part, to the racial covenants.

"I think this is long overdue," he said. "We need to clean up this kind of language."

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