Publication of Sundown Towns opened up an entire new area of study in history, sociology, geography, and related fields. Intrigued by their prevalence, Guy Lancaster studied sundown towns across Arkansas for his Ph.D. and it then became a published book. Now that we know that thousands of communities went sundown, there is room for many more, with titles like “Sundown Towns in the Upper Peninsula” (MI), “Towns That Kept Out Native Americans,” “‘North’ vs. ‘South’ as Seen in the Sundown Suburbs of Washington, D.C.,” “Sociological Causes for Towns Expelling and Not Expelling Their Black Populations,” and countless others.
Information on Sundown Towns
- An interview by Kevin Lavery on Michigan Public Radio offers a quick introduction to sundown towns
- An article by John Donovan for How Stuff Works provides an overview of sundown towns
- An article by David Neiwert about sundown towns relies heavily on Loewen’s work
- The Washington Post published a long article on sundown towns summarizing my work correctly
- Check out the Wikipedia article on Sundown Towns
- Read the encyclopedia entry about Sundown Towns in Arkansas by James Loewen
- As of 8/2020, this Wikipedia list of racial expulsions was laughably incomplete, but still, it’s better than nothing
- Loewen wrote a good introduction to sundown towns in Poverty & Race, 14: #6 (11/2005, 1-2 passim)
- Loewen wrote an article for museum staff, “Exhibiting Sundown Towns“
- “Tip for Journalists and Historians: When You Don’t See Blacks in a Community Ask Why”
- “Great Retreat,” in Steven A. Reich, ed., Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2006), 359-60
- “Nadir of Race Relations,” in Steven A. Reich, ed., Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2006), 575-78.
- “Sundown Towns,” in Steven A. Reich, ed., Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2006), 807-09.
- “Sundown Towns,” in Richard Schaefer, ed., Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Society (Los Angeles: Sage, 2008), 1282-85.
- “Acknowledging History to Right a Wrong”
- “History of Sundown Suburbs Threatens the Existence of Diverse Suburbs”
- James Kilgore wrote a good article about the over-incarceration of African Americans and cited the role of sundown towns. However, he missed the role that sundown towns play in penology, especially in Illinois.
- Maria Krysan wrote a good article, “Racial Residential Segregation and Exclusion in Illinois”
- A newspaper columnist in central Illinois suggested that this website classifies towns as “sundown towns” with little proof. Loewen rebutted him.
- “Mitch Daniels: Friend or Foe to Academic Freedom?”
- “Victimized by Folklore”
- “Rick Perry’s ‘Niggerhead’ Camp Is Only Part of the Problem”
- Journalist Logan Jaffe spoke in the capital, Springfield, about the prevalence of sundown towns in Illinois
- A Milwaukee museum with its own connections to racism and the Nadir of race relations compiled a good article on sundown towns, featuring Wisconsin
- The New England Historical Society posted a good introduction to sundown towns in that region, “The Secret History of New England’s Sundown Towns,” but much more research is needed
- Useful article on sundown towns in northern Indiana
- Useful article on sundown towns in NW Arkansas
Critical Bibliography on Sundown Towns
Speakers on Sundown Towns
Have Stephen Berrey speak on Sundown Towns.
Towns that Tried to Drive Out Minorities But Failed
Several cities tried to drive out their entire black populations and become sundown towns, including Tulsa, OK, and Springfield, IL. An immense bibliography has developed recently on Tulsa, including also a foundation, the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, a park, and a monument and website at the Greenwood Cultural Center. Illinois NPR recently did an extensive story about Springfield’s 1908 race riot.
Whites also tried to “cleanse” Denver and Seattle (of Chinese); these Midwestern towns (of African Americans): Akron; Evansville, Indiana; Joplin and Springfield, Missouri; Springfield and Youngstown, Ohio; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; and also Knoxville, Tennessee; and Johnstown, Pennsylvania. These white race riots failed to accomplish their goals mainly because the cities and their black communities were so large.
Population Files for Towns in Selected States
Here are Excel files of town populations by race for selected states. Some are much more complete than others. If you develop such a file for a state not included here, or a more comprehensive file for a state that is included here, kindly email it and we’ll post it below for other researchers to use. Thank you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.