Home » Illinois » Carthage

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

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Don’t Know
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 1679 0
1870 2448 2
1880 1594 0
1890 1654 0
1900 2104 0
1930 2240 0
1940 2575 2
1950 3214 1
1960 3325 0
1970 3350
1990 2657 2642 2
2000 2725 2674 13

Method of Exclusion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


According to a professor at Carthage College, Carthage was a sundown town as late as the 50’s and 60’s. He stated, “As a matter of fact, in the years I attended Carthage (1955-59) the black students on campus had to have their ID cards in their possession if they ventured into town to see a movie or get a hamburger. Many of the black students at Carthage in those years were foreign students sponsored by the national synod … I do not recall a black face at Carthage High School or in the community. It was an all white school in what I’m sure was an all white city.”

Carthage is most famous for being the site of the 1844 assassination of Joseph Smith.

In Feb., 1863, six Negroes were convicted at Carthage [by Democrats] of living within the state contrary to the black laws and were thereupon sold for their fines to the highest bidder. (Arthur C. Cole, The Era of the Civil War, 1848-1870 (Freeport: Books for Libraries Press, 1971 [1919]), 335.)