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James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

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

Attica

Indiana

Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Surely
Was there an ordinance?
Sign?
Year of Greatest Interest
1880-1900
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1860
1870
1880 2150 18
1890
1900 3005 5
1910 3335 4
1920 3392 5
1930 3700 1
1940 3760 0
1950 3862 5
1960 4341 1 1
1970 4262 1
1980 3841 0
1990 3457 0
2000 3491 1
2010 3245 4
2020

Method of Exclusion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

According to, Past and Present of Fountain and Warren Counties Indiana, this region experienced a series of racial tension between black and white coal mining workers in the late 1870s.

“At Stringtown and Snoddy’s Mills. [The riot] occurred in April, 1878, over differences between the white and colored miners…In December, 1877, Thomas Kelley murdered a man…[and] the next April the two races got into serious difficulty and five negro miners were killed.”
“…The number of colored miners engaged at the mines then was ninety while the white miners numbered two hundred and twenty five.”

An long time resident of Attica (c. 60 years old) said, “I don’t recall a rule that no blacks were allowed but way back yonder there was an incident where a black man was killed by a train.” (11/10/13)

An elderly man in Attica said that there used to be a sign just before the bridge leading from Attica to Williamsport that read, “Nigger Don’t let the sun set on you in Williamsport.” He said the sign was taken down and put in someone’s basement. (11/3/13)

According to one resident, Attica used to be a “KKK Playground” and had a powerful influence in the town.

One oral history states that less than 15 years ago a cross was burned in a black family’s yard in nearby Covington forcing them to leave.

A librarian at Williamsport said, “An older white man said that his grandfather though a black man was cheating in poker at Attica, so he killed him.” (11/5/13)

An assistant librarian at Attica said that one interracial boy graduated from Attica HS in her experience and left. According to the woman, “he was shunned by all.” This same person also stated that the Harrison Steel Company would not hire blacks for a long time and when describing the overall feel of the town said that “if you were black you couldn’t enter [Attica].” Several black families live in Attica now. But there is still a lot of racism according to this source.

A resident in 2013 stated that it was known in Attica in the earlier 1900s that you weren’t welcome if you were black.