- 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?
Method of Exclusion
- Private Bad Behavior
Main Ethnic Group(s)
“The town’s large employers, especially
government agencies and utilities operating in the
area like Southern California Edison, the U.S. Forest
Service, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and
Power would occasionally try to transfer families of
color into town. They never lasted; within six months
to a year, they’d moved on. Given the remoteness of
the town (when I was growing up there, we had the
only stoplight for 140 miles in any direction), it’s not
surprising that I was 16 years old before I ever talked
to a person with black skin.
“One day when I was in my teens [circa 1974], my
father told me that the whiteness of the place was one
reason he’d brought the family there. He went on to
say that there were men in town who considered it
their duty to ‘quietly encourage’ any black folks to
move right on through if they looked like they might
consider settling. This was my first introduction to the
idea of sundown towns and to the notion that my
hometown was white by design, not chance. Other
adults told me that we didn’t have any black residents
because ‘they don’t like the cold.’ (‘But there are big
black neighborhoods in New York and Chicago…’ I
“In recent years, the state has suggested putting
a prison in Bishop. Due to its remote location and low
cost of living, it would make some bureaucratic sense.
But the local folks have defeated the proposal every
time it’s come up. While I tend to agree that the last
thing the town needs is a prison, those against tend to
express their opposition in terms of veiled racism:
they don’t like the idea that the government will
import black people (and their families, who might
follow) into town in large numbers. ‘They might stay,
and we won’t be able to get them to move on’ is a
-former resident of Bishop