Historic document dictates racial designations for Sioux Falls land

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 10:22 PM CDT
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Communities across the country are trying to root out forms of systemic racism. Many practices are discontinued and that includes an interesting document that surfaced on social media. The document in question indicates that a plot of land located in Sioux Falls was only available for the "Caucasian Race". A Sioux Falls man inquiring about this plat came across the language of this document and was initially surprised. So far the buyer has not had any issues, but Sioux Falls historical society members say laws and circumstances at that time would certainly support something like this.

The particular document is dated in 1950 and is not currently enforced, but the language does indicate times have changed.

"What's particularly pertinent is what laws governed at that particular time in history," said Minnehaha County's Register of Deeds, Julie Risty. "Depending on what laws were there, that's what directly mirrors those existing laws."

Risty showed documents that were created when South Dakota was still a territory and says some of the document's language is not enforced, but it does provide reference points to times past.

"Every once in a while you'll see one that will have an unusual phrase or something that you otherwise never see that might have restrictions in them."

Risty indicates the recorder's office is a treasure trove of history, but not necessarily history you want to take or leave.

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