CALIFORNIA – Dorothy Adams dies; broke race restriction on homeowners in S.F.
The year was 1959. Like many young families, Dorothy Mae Provost Adams, a saleswoman at Macy’s in downtown San Francisco, and her husband, Artemus Adams, a San Francisco police officer, dreamed of owning a home with a yard — perfect for their two little kids.
Unlike most families, they had to do their house hunting at night.
Their story is being remembered this week after the death of Dorothy Adams at age 85. She and her husband had to break into their own home in defiance of neighborhood restrictions against black homeowners. The U.S. Supreme Court had already ruled such restrictions unenforceable. But some neighborhoods — and neighbors — still held them dear.
The Adamses had their eye on Westwood Park, a neighborhood of bungalows just west of City College of San Francisco on the south side of town. Like communities across the country, Westwood Park had racist restrictions: “No person of African, Japanese, Chinese or any Mongolian descent shall be allowed to purchase, own or lease any real property in said Westwood Park,” said Article XIII of the neighborhood’s declaration of Covenants, Codes and Restrictions — the document given by title companies to all prospective homeowners. Westwood Park’s was written in 1920. Read more: