Fairhaven Land Advertised for ‘Caucasians Only’

Beth Germano, WBZ-TV (Boston), June 1, 2010

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There was a notice in the New Bedford Standard Times newspaper indicating land for sale in the town of Fairhaven, but it wasn’t for everyone.

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The ad read, “The said land shall not be sold, leased or rented to any person other than of the Caucasian race or to any entity of which any person other than that of said race shall be a member, stockholder, officer or director.”

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In fact, records at Fairhaven Town Hall reveal a deed dating back to 1946, when the property was subdivided and a covenant established which the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) calls “unlawful and unenforceable under Massachusetts statute.”

The language used then is still used now, and the Harmon law firm in Newton which placed the ad said in a statement, “This notice involves a restriction that a previous owner placed on the property. We do not condone the language and do not believe it would be enforceable.”

Mandi Costa wants to be sure, which is why she filed a discrimination suit. “Discrimination is alive and well and this is a primary example of something that says we’re not equal yet. This is why I’m trying to bring light to everyone,” she said.

MCAD is now looking into the legal notice and whether any laws were broken when it was published.

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