Get Involved!

Video Tutorial: How to Review Deeds for Racial Covenants Using the Zooniverse Platform

The Hacking into History project invites you to use the Zooniverse online platform to assist us with reviewing and validating the presence of racial covenant clauses in historic property deeds. Digital copies of historic property deeds were acquired from Durham County Register of Deeds and pre-sorted for high probability of these clauses. By participating in this work, you will assist the project team in translating legacy documentation into machine-readable data. Our project goal is to collect and transcribe these property deeds to deepen historical understanding and demonstrate over a century of exclusionary, racist zoning practices in the city of Durham. Each deed takes only a few minutes to examine and transcribe.

How to Transcribe Deeds

Step 1: Register on Zooniverse (if you don’t want to register, you can skip this step). 

Step 2: Go to our project home page on Zooniverse. Short link: 

Step 3: Start reviewing deeds to determine the presence of racial covenant clauses.  A pop up tutorial will provide you with guidance and instructions on your task.

Step 4: If you have questions about a deed, you can request help from the project team in the TALK section here.


Example deed that contains a racial covenant clause

Other ways to get involved

Follow us on Twitter: @HackDurmHistory 

Email us: [email protected] 

[Optional] Watch Documentary “Jim Crow in the North” (click link) 1 hour documentary about Minneapolis, MN history of discriminatory housing practices with racial covenants in housing deeds. This video is a good introduction to the work that “Hacking into History” is trying to accomplish.