HOA Race Pioneer Dies

It’s hard to believe that it was once legal for Homeowners Associations to outlaw the sale of homes to anyone of the ‘wrong’ race. But that’s the shameful racist background of the HOA movement. Homeowners Associations across America once banned the sale of homes to most minorities. It took some brave pioneers to break the HOA racial barriers.

Now, one of those pioneers has died at the age of 85.

Dorothy Mae Adams and her husband are black. Their HOA in San Francisco, Westwood Park, had a deed restriction against the sale or lease of any home to people of African descent. But in 1959 the Adams couple fought for their home and won. The only sad part of the story is that HOAs didn’t die along with the racial restrictions that got them started in the first place.

(link to story on Dorothy Adams)


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

5 thoughts on “HOA Race Pioneer Dies

  1. Nila Ridings

    I believe Dorothy was the trailblazer in this movement against HOAs.

    Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock Dorothy Provost Adams will be laid to rest. To honor her I’m asking all of the warriors in this HOA battle to observe a moment of silence at that time. She started a movement that we must continue so her efforts were not in vain.

    Thank you, Ward for posting this story.

    1. Deborah Goonan

      Will do, Nila.

      Every move toward justice begins with people speaking out and standing up for their rights.

  2. Deborah Goonan

    Although overt racial discrimination is prohibited in HOAs, we still have covert discrimination by CC&Rs. For example, the young women at risk for homelessness were rejected by PR2 HOA in Frisco, TX, due to a Restriction that states homes can only be for “single family use” whatever that means.

    It just so happens that these young women were from poor families, people of color, and one a single mother. What a coincidence.

    Or how about covert discrimination against veterans such as Larry Murphree, who dares to display an “unauthorized” small flag in a flowerpot on his front stoop?

    Or what about covert discrimination of the disabled, with restrictions that make it difficult for residents to install access ramps, obtain an accessible parking space, or keep an assistance animal?

    We’ve covered many of those cases right here on NAW.

  3. Nila Ridings

    You are so correct, Deborah. Bottom line if the HOA has a board member or two that want to destroy a homeowner’s life, they will do it. They are like a wild animal on a fresh piece of meat. Once they get a taste of ripping a homeowner apart in the HOA meetings, on the streets, with letters, and in the courts they don’t seem to be able to recover from that demented state of mind. They want more and more of it.

    It has to be some form of mental illness that drives the addiction to keep destroying thy neighbor. I can’t think of any other reason for it.

    I do think the judges are starting to figure this out. They keep seeing the same HOAs suing their homeowners over and over again. And that same HOA is filling up the dockets with lawsuits in the county courthouse.

    I wish a journalist would interview some judges and learn what they are thinking about it.

  4. Cynthia

    My greatest respect to this woman and her husband. I am terribly saddened to learn Dorothy Mae Adams has passed away. My sincerest sympathy to her family and friends. Ward is right,”The only sad part of the story is that HOAs didn’t die along with the racial restrictions that got them started in the first place.”


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