A Detroit home involved in a landmark civil rights case nearly a century ago has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Park Service program recently announced the new designation for the Orsell and Minnie McGee home, citing its connection to the civil rights movement and African American life in Detroit.
McGhee’s house on Detroit’s west side played a central role in the fight against racist restrictions, often imposed by property deeds and other residential covenants that barred non-whites from occupying certain homes.
at 4626 Seebaldt St. The home is one of more than two dozen Michigan sites on the list this summer.
The two-story brick home’s journey dates back to the 1940s when a black couple, Orsell and Minnie McGee, purchased the property. After buying the house, the white residents used racist language in the deed to prevent McGhee from moving there.
According to the Bridge Magazine report, the law against the dead states that “this property shall not be used or occupied by any person or persons except of the Caucasian race.”
McGhee lost the local court battle, but eventually appealed the case to the US Supreme Court.
In its ruling on the matter, the court confirmed that the covenant was unenforceable.
It takes 25 years for the discriminatory property deeds themselves to become illegal.
Other sites designated for the historic registry this year include the 1930s Art-Deco style school building that once housed Luther Burbank Elementary School.