- 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?
- Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
- Year of Greatest Interest
- Still Sundown?
- Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People
Method of Exclusion
- Police or Other Official Action
- Private Bad Behavior
Main Ethnic Group(s)
2000 pop. 2652; bl. 7 [may be interracial children]; 1 B/W; 527 H; 146 H households. 7 NonHispanic bl. 1 bl. households w. 3 people.
Woman at City Clerk’s office, October 2002, when asked if Arcola had a law forbidding blacks, replied, “You mean, like a ‘Sundown Ordinance’? That’s what I’ve heard it called.” She said “Come back tomorrow, we’ll find it.” Next day, after we looked for two hours: “There certainly was one, but in terms of coming up with the piece of paper with it, we can’t do it.”
Many people told me or Carolyn Stevens that Arcola had an ordinance on the books, including the staff woman at Tuscola’s history museum, the Chamber of Commerce woman at Raggedy Ann museum in 2000, etc.
I had a conversation with the librarian and her mom, c.2003, and while we were talking, a teenage boy came into the library, overheard us, stopped, was shocked to hear that Arcola might have blacks. “When? Who?” [sounded like he was concerned and was a possible enforcer] We assure him, no, we were only talking hypothetically.
Many stories are recounted in SUNDOWN TOWNS, q.v. Also, Barbara Elliott Carpenter wrote an interesting novel for teenagers about Arcola with a sundown scene.
Arcola is 20% Mexican now, but that has not led to a broadening of minds re African Americans.
“In the summer of either 1969 or 1970 the high school received its first ever foreign exchange student. When it was announced that the visiting student would be from Africa, the city clerk, Raymond Holterman, announced to the city council that there was an old Sundown ordinance on the books which needed to be removed, and so it was. This was covered in the weekly newspaper, The Arcola Record-Herald, and so the details of this could be confirmed if someone has access to the newspaper archives.” – Former resident of Arcola, email, March 2012