Minneapolis-St. Paul (12/20/2021) — The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Minnesota a $615,000 grant for Mapping Prejudice. This transformational funding will allow the Mapping Prejudice team to build collaborations that can advance racial justice in Minnesota. The team will convene a think tank to bring together academics, researchers, and community fellows under the umbrella of the University of Minnesota Libraries.
“Mapping Trust: A model for co-creative community collaboration in an academic library” is a two-year project under the direction of Kirsten Delegard, Director of Mapping Prejudice. The think tank will nurture conversations — with the voices of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) at the center — around local efforts to dismantle structural racism. Academics and researchers will learn from this work and use it to generate collaborations that reflect the priorities of community members and provide new resources for these efforts.
“We are absolutely thrilled to receive what will be transformational support from the Mellon Foundation for Mapping Prejudice,” said Delegard. “This funding will allow us to continue to be a resource for the people of Minnesota and provide capacity to build meaningful, reciprocal relationships with BIPOC communities, while supporting efforts to dismantle structural racism.”
“The University Libraries is proud to be the home of Mapping Prejudice,” says Lisa German, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries. “Because of Mapping Prejudice, communities around the country are investigating racial covenants and addressing structural racism. I’m very glad that the University Libraries has a role to play in fostering conversation and generating community collaborations to advance racial justice.”
Delegard will be joined in this grant-funded effort by Mapping Prejudice Co-Director Ryan Mattke, Mapping Prejudice co-founder Penny Petersen, and the team’s new geospatial lead Mike Corey. The grant will allow the team to add a new colleague who will lead the community engagement work of the project and develop mutually beneficial collaborations with BIPOC communities.
The think tank will include:
two faculty members from St. Catherine University, Dr. Taiyon Coleman and Dr. Daniel Williams, who have previously collaborated with Mapping Prejudice
a group of affiliated scholars who are doing research in tandem with the Mapping Prejudice team, and six community fellows to be chosen in the near future
About Mapping Prejudice
Mapping Prejudice, a project of the University of Minnesota Libraries, started in 2016 by using volunteers to document racial covenants — the clauses that were inserted into property deeds to keep anyone who was not white from buying or occupying certain pieces of land. The project team drew on the digital humanities and principles of public history to develop a methodology that mobilized community members to read historical property deeds and transcribe the information necessary to locate racial restrictions on a digital map. Since the project began, more than 6,000 volunteers have read approximately 425,000 property deeds from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties. This process used the University of Minnesota Libraries as a hub to create a space for public engagement around the sordid legacies of racial covenants.
Even after these racial covenants were made illegal under federal and state law, they continued to influence housing patterns and intergenerational wealth — or the lack of it. Since it was published in the University of Minnesota open access data repository, the project dataset has been downloaded more than 5,000 times. Besides fueling new scholarship and related efforts, this data serves as the backbone of the Minneapolis 2040 plan, which has been hailed around the country as a daring new approach to land-use guidelines.