Sundown Towns

The American Historical Association’s blog published the piece below on Sundown Towns. David Darlington concluded in this piece and at the AHA much of what James Loewen’s research found in his excellent book Sundown Towns. Read here to see the article at the AHA’s blog or just see below. I also wrote a piece about my experience as a freshly minted MA degree graduate looking for a teaching post in an all white rural Arkansas school some in a town suspected of being a sundown town. You can read that piece here.

University of Vermont sociologist James Loewen has created a web site where visitors can explore a controversial topic in American history: sundown towns. This largely-forgotten practice, which refers to counties and municipalities requiring racial minorities to leave their borders after daylight hours, occurred mostly in the North and Midwest, in contrast with Southern segregation. Loewen, who wrote a book on the subject (Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism), provides site visitors with a database of possible sundown towns (which users can submit additions to), population files for several states for greater research, tips for amateurs interested in contributing to the historical research, and even a newsletter (PDF)—”dedicated to the abolition of its subject”—which explores the topic further and provides additional advice for doing research. And to learn more, check out HNN’s podcast interview with Loewen on the subject in 2006.


3 thoughts on “Sundown Towns

  1. Not because I want there to ever be racism in any form, but because I love equality and knowledge, it has always made me angry that I didn’t learn about sundown towns until college. Why is the south always blamed for all racism? Yes, we did it, it was wrong, it’s still wrong and we still do it today, but the North did too. They were just less obvious about it.

  2. Loewen contends that most sundown towns are in the north and west. I first heard of this concept 3 years ago.

    Chili — that is an interesting article. Have you heard him speak? What do people in NH think of all of this?

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