Home » California » Burbank

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

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



Basic Information

Type of Place
Metro Area
Los Angeles/San Diego
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Surely Not

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 16,662 6
1940 34,337 22
1950 90,155 29
2000 100,053 71,161 2,553 9,181 566 24,953 9,908

Method of Exclusion

  • Zoning

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps
tried to locate a black company in Burbank and was
refused a lease for land, because of an “old ordinance
of the cities of Burbank and Glendale which prohibited
Negroes from remaining inside municipal limits after
sun down.”

The Grinnell Heights subdivision advertised its
restrictive covenants: “Superb view of mountains and
valley. FHA approved. Schools within easy walking
distance. Protective restrictions… No portion of this
tract shall ever at any time be used or occupied by any
but the white or Caucasian race.”

“In early 40’s Pappy worked at Lockheed,
Burbank. A Black man came to California to work at
Lockheed, Burbank because he could make more
money [than his previous job]. He worked days. One
time he had to work overtime, and Pappy volunteered
to drive him home (after dark) LA. He as OK in the car
as long and there was a white man with him.”
-posted to the web, 2006

“In Burbank it was understood that Blacks had to
be gone by sundown relatively recently in the 60’s.
Ten years ago eating in a restaurant in Burbank an
elderly white man told a waitress to tell us to move.
We were not that surprised.
“I was in an aisle next to the tables, my friends
had just sat down. The man walked over to the
waitress. I was standing closest to her, he told her to
ask them to move. She said she couldn’t do that. I
went over to my friends to see if they heard what I
thought I heard. They confirmed it. I asked the
waitress she just shook her head. My friend grew up in
Burbank he is a very dark skinned Sicilian. He told me
that growing up there that was the rule.”
-African American resident of the San Fernando Valley

Most of Burbank’s black population in 1950 were
women, indicating that they were live-in domestic

Regardless of its history, Burbank is not now a sundown town.