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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.

Colonial Heights


Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
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
1950 6077 9
1960 9587 14
1990 15502 129 18

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • English

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Testimony of a nearby resident (1/26/2005): “For years, ever since I was a boy [in the 1940s], everybody knew. I heard stories by whites: this black or that black was chased out…[often] said in a bragadoccio way” by youths.

According to a local museum employee (2/2002), a saying known among nearby Richmond whites was “Nothing but whites in Colonial Heights,” who often referred to the town as “Colonial Whites.”

Testimony of a nearby resident (6/12/2000): “Colonial Heights, Virginia, just north of Petersburg on I 95, was a ‘whites only’ town at least into the mid 1980s. I vaguely recall a big flap back then about blacks not being able to buy or at least being discouraged from buying homes there. I remember a big write up about it in the Norfolk Virginian Pilot. Some folks, who know the area better than I do, say it’s still a ‘whites only’ town.”

Testimony of a nearby resident (10/12/2001): My daughter works in colonial Hgts. and my mom is in a nursing home there. My son played CH in sports while in a high school nearby. The only nonwhites I know of living there last time I heard were a family of Asian Indians. The man was a teacher at VA State Un. which was are predominately black university. I got my masters there. It borders Colonial Hgts. I left [the area] in 1985. People then still carried KKK cards. It was the KKK headquarters for area.”

According to a nearby resident (1/26/2005): “When Meadowbrook High School, a majority-white but integrated school, played Colonial Heights, extra chaperons went along, to help students deal with the racism they would experience there. This was according to the cheerleading coach.”