and Video Courtesy of Channel 3 News WSAZ
By Sophia Hernandez
July 6, 2019
TALLAHASSEE - A woman looking to buy a home is
expressing concern for “restrictive racial language” in the neighborhood
homeowner’s association document, WCTV reported.
The covenant, written in the 1930s, still exists in
HOA documents that must be signed when buying a home in the Betton Hills
said she found language in the covenant saying only
Caucasians can live in the area.
Diaz went to her attorney, Jami Coleman, and other
community leaders, and a news conference was held Monday
to see what can be done to change the language.
Coleman said her client felt hurt and concerned.
"When she saw that document on a property that she fell
in love with, she experienced that discrimination. So
how do we fix that?" the attorney said. "How do we avoid
potential homeowners from feeling that again?"
Coleman says the reason this is being brought to
light now is because Diaz is white and her son is African-American, and
she was confused if her son would be able to live on the property. Diaz
and her mother are French, and Coleman says the current language in the
document causes individuals like Diaz to look elsewhere for a home.
The Rev. B Holmes, of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, hopes the
community sees what needs to be done.
"No one in Betton Hills, no one in Tallahassee will applaud this kind of
situation, where it says only Caucasians can live in the area," Holmes
One Tallahassee resident, Lilla Richardson, said she was appalled by the
"We should be able to live where we want to live," she said.
The document was deemed unconstitutional in 1948 and said to be expired
in 1970. However, because of an easement in the document, the covenant
is still active.
"I would think that we have come so far that we wouldn't have to be
experiencing these things still, but we're just not far enough," Coleman
When she initially asked what could be done, the City of Tallahassee
responded it was a private matter. But the easement is in regard to
utilities, which are governed by the city.
On Monday, Deputy City Manager Cynthia Barber said the city wants to
work with Diaz, the neighborhood and other interested parties "to not
only address what is happening in Betton but also what is happening in
other neighborhoods, if it should exist in those neighborhoods."
Holmes was distressed over the impact of these words.
"This document brings about bad memories of when people were
discriminated against because of race, color and religion," Holmes said.