This map only represents a few of the racially restricted (white only) neighborhoods, including the suburban expansion of East Bakersfield and Southwest Bakersfield. This is only meant to be a small representation of all the 171 racially restricted neighborhoods in Kern County from 1938 to 1950. The 12-year period started when the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) recommended using restrictive covenants, including race restrictions. Real estate agents, including realtor professional associations, also recommended the use of racially restrictive covenants in their manuals. The practice of using racially exclusive language ended in 1950 when the FHA announced that it would not finance loans with racially exclusive language. This was a result of Shelley v. Kraemer, a Supreme Court case that stopped the use of racially restrictive covenants and found the legal language violated the equal protection provision of the Fourteenth Amendment. This period also includes the beginning of the postwar suburban Bakersfield.
Regardless of the FHA’s decision, fair housing continued to be a conversation and fight. Brief relief came in 1963 when William Byron Rumford, a California Representative (Berkeley), authored a bill, the Rumford Fair Housing act. In 1964, the California Real Estate Association (now the California Association of Realtors) helped pass Proposition 14. California voters passed the proposition in 1964, overturning the Rumford Fair Housing Act. National fair housing came into legislation with the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the last Civil Rights Act, and continues to be a fight to achieve social justice. Redlining continues to be a conversation in many communities in Bakersfield. The Mayflower neighborhood was unique, as it was segregated as a black-only neighborhood. Mayflower would have met the conditions of a “redlined” neighborhood.
Click below to explore the neighborhood, read the covenant restrictions, and see the tract map.