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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.

Aurora

Indiana

Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Surely
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Sign?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Year of Greatest Interest
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
1890 3929 0 0
1900
1910 4410
1920 4299 0 0
1930 4386 0 0
1940 4828 0
1950
1960 4119 0 0
1970 4293 1
1980 3816 0
1990
2000 3965 4 1
2010 3750 20 5
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

Current Aurora residents think that Aurora is sundown today, and an older resident rememberd that he saw signs. Nearby towns Rising Sun and Lawrenceburg have blacks, however.
Dearborn county has >200 blacks. But not Aurora, whose statistics are almost all-white.

A resident of Lawrenceburg, Indiana near Aurora informed us that “Aurora used to have a sign entering the city up until the 1980’s that said, “Niggers, don’t let the sun set on your back.” There were also three Klan parades in the late 1970’s down the main street.”

According to a man whose father was a resident of Aurora in the 1920’s: My father told stories of watching the KKK burning crosses outside of town. His family was well off at the time, so they had African-American servants. As he explained it to me, the women who did this work were required to get out of town before dark because of a sign at the edge of town that said, “N—–, Don’t Let The Sun Set On Your Head In Aurora.”

One past resident said, “A teacher once told me that years before my birth (1979) on fair evenings men would line the roof tops of the main streets with their firearms in order to ensure that the Black visitors would leave as the festivites wound down for the night.”