A Japanese American and veteran is credited with helping to bring down racial covenants that banned certain ethnic groups from living in certain neighborhoods.
The story of Jon Matsuo was recently told in the Southwest Journal.
Matsuo was part of a group of veterans in 1946 who successfully pushed for low cost homes in Northeast Minneapolis.
Before Matsuo could even put down an offer, he learned that the developer had included a racial covenant that banned him from owning a home there because he was Japanese.
The argument was that non-Whites would lower the value of the homes and discourage banks from financing the development.
These kinds of restrictions were quite common at the time and used to keep out “Chinese, Japanese, Moorish, Turkish, Negro, Mongolian or African blood.”
The American Veterans Committee heard of Matsuo’s plight and condemned the practice and organized others to fight it. As a result, Minneapolis would ban such convenants. Two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court banned states from enforcing them.
You can read more about how the fight was won in the Southwest Journal.