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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.

Belknap

Illinois

Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Surely
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Sign?
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
1909
Still Sundown?
Probably

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1860
1870
1880
1890 358
1900 372
1910
1920
1930
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990 125 0
2000 133 1
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Threat of Violence

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

Confirmed, librarian of nearby town, February 7, 2004. [“Did Belknap keep out blacks?”] “Yes, they did. You were outta there by dark. My father-in-law told me that. If they weren’t out of town by sunset, they had to run for their lives.” He lived near Belknap.

When the mob [in 1909, lynching in Cairo] apprehended the sheriff, deputy, and Will James in Belknap, “People emerged from their doorways to hiss and spit at the bound prisoner as [sheriff] Davis, Deputy Fuller, and Froggie James were marched through the town of Belknap to the train depot.” — Philip Dray, At the Hands of Persons Unknown (NY: Random House Modern Library, 2003), 174.