Conference Highlight: Keynote Kevin Ehrman-Solberg

Kevin is one of the co-founders of the Mapping Prejudice Project at the University of Minnesota, which is identifying and mapping racially restrictive housing covenants in the 20th century. Combining GIS, optical character recognition, and crowd-sourcing, Mapping Prejudice weaves traditional research methodologies with cutting-edge digital tools to build comprehensive spatial databases of racial covenants for cities across the United States. An active proponent of the digital humanities, Kevin’s work focuses on the intersection of race, historical narrative, and contested space.

In addition to his geospatial research, Kevin is also the lead web developer for the Historyapolis Project. He holds a Masters in Geographic Information Science, and has developed multiple online mapping applications for the University of Minnesota, Prologue DC, and Visible City. You can find some of his cartographic work in the Star Tribune, Open Rivers, and the Middle West Review.

Kevin will discuss the Mapping Prejudice Project, which is a team of activists and scholars who show how contemporary urban geography has been shaped by historic restrictions on property ownership. Using digital technology, they are assembling the first-ever spatial database of racial covenants for an American city. Their project maps restrictive deed covenants–agreements made during home purchases–that enforced racial segregation until the Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlawed such covenants. Despite this landmark legislation, to this day the vast majority of the nation’s neighborhoods remain deeply segregated. Racial covenants help explain why.

Kevin’s keynote address will take place on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 10AM CST. Register now for the 2021 WLIA Annual Conference – we hope to see you there!

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