Maggie Rios and her fiancé Fidel Simmons were preparing to sign the paperwork for their new home in San Antonio, Texas, recently when Rios noticed something strange in the house deed: a clause stating that only white people are allowed to live in the house—except in the "domestic servant's quarters."
“No lot, site, structure or dwelling, with the exception of bona fide domestic servant’s quarters shall be used or occupied by any person, or persons, other than members of the Caucasian or White race,” the clause reads.
Though the clause is invalidated by the Civil Rights Act, and even more specifically the Fair Housing Act, it was a disturbing discovery for Rios and Simmons, who is black. The company responsible for issuing the title told TV station WOAI that the language remains because there are other parts of the clause that still contain valid, non-discriminatory exclusions.
"I don't think anybody should have to read that and still wonder is this still valid and then see the hurt," Rios told the station. "What is the point of even having them or attaching to it? If it's no longer valid then it shouldn't be there."
Simmons told the local station he thought deeds should keep the language as a recognition of the history of slavery, but should come with a warning to potential home buyers and a clearer indication that the clause is no longer legal.
Antiquated discriminatory language is in housing deeds across the country, NPR's Weekend Edition reported in 2010, targeting black people, Latinxs, and Asian people in different places. But despite complaints from the NAACP and lawsuits in some parts of the country, the language has stayed on the books.