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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.

Chester

Illinois

Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Possible
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 2708 210
1900
1910
1920 2904 134
1930
1940 4460 26
1950 5389 51
1960
1970 5310 11
1980
1990 8194 2014* 7
2000 5185 4919 12
2010 8586 2430* 24
2020

Method of Exclusion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

In 1966 while en route to Paduchah, Ky (McCracken County) to visit relation, I first passed through Chester and viewed the roadsign “Trucks 55mph; Cars 65mph; Niggers Full Throttle!” (Taken 2006)

Fist saw it posted, coming/going into Chester…just above the Rotarians welcome sign with a smaller notation beneath it stating “If your ass is black, don’t let the sun set on it here!”; the date March 5th 1966. (Taken 2006)

One resident of Chester wrote in 2009, “(…) inmate families (we have a 3500 inmate state prison at the edge of town) have never been welcome here.”

*Much of the black population at this time consisted of inmates at the prison in the town.