Home » Arkansas » Amity

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.



Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
2000 762 738 7 0 6 19 7

Method of Exclusion

  • Threat of Violence

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


In the early 1900s, a man named T.W.
Rosborough “arranged to meet with civic leaders
from the town of Amity, located… directly east of
the timberlands that the company would buy. To
these men he described his plans for building a
lumber manufacturing plant, stating that he would
like to buy land at Amity for the mill. The town
would benefit from having mill workers who would
spend their wages with the local merchants.
“‘We would rather you not locate here,’ the town
leaders told Rosborough. ‘We do not want a
sawmill. We won’t sell you land to build a mill.’
They did not want transient mill workers, nor did
they want blacks.
There were no black people in Amity, only a
lingering hostility said to have stemmed from an
incident in the past when a black person %u2014 or
someone having Nero ancestry %u2014 had caused
trouble there while masquerading as a white.” So
Rosborough built his mill and a town (Rosboro) four
miles north of Amity.
Whites in the area (Amity) threatened
Rosborough’s black workers. “Blacks were to work
only at the mill, not in the logging operation, for
loggers had to live in camps in the woods where
blacks would be even more vulnerable to harm from
neighboring whites. The first black emlooyees to
arrive at Rosboro had to live in tents. Since threats
kept circulating, Rosborough built a high board
fence around them, with gates that could be locked
against intruders, and employed trustworthy white
men to stand guard over the compound at night.
After a while the threats died down and the
workmen and their families moved into the new
houses in Rosboro’s black neighborhood,” Nigger
“One night, men on horses rode through Rosboro
and dropped leaflets saying that the blacks were to
get out, or they would get hurt. Rosborough
promptly called the leaders of the black community
into the lumber company office and handed them
several rifles. If any outsider came into the Quarters
to harm the blacks, he told them, they were to
protect themselves. (‘Old Man Rosborough didn’t go
for that, beatin’ his niggers,’ says a white who
worked at Rosboro.) In time the furor died down,
but the blacks long remembered what Rosborough
had done for them.
“Rosborough, however, remained a person of his
own time; he never attempted to change the
prevailing separation of the races. He did feel
responsible for protecting his black employees, one
reason being that he wanted the best sawmill men
he could find, regardless of color… One Rosboro
resident recalls, ‘The niggers done most of the
stacking of the lumber. Most of the work they done
was drudgery work that white people wouldn’t do.’
That was true, but as a lumber journalist once
explained, ‘There has never been as precise a
separation of jobs into “white man’s job” and
“Negro job” in the lumber industry as in many other
industries.’ Rosborough realized that employing
blacks made economic sense, but he also liked
black people.”