Home » Indiana » Decatur

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?
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?
Surely Not

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1890 3142 0
1920 4762 0
1930 5156 0
1970 8400 0
1990 8644 15
2000 9528 23 34 33 733

Method of Exclusion

  • Violent Expulsion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


July 14, 1902, the New York Times had an article headlined: “Negro Driven Away. The Last One Leaves Decatur, Ind., Owing to Threats Made.” “The last Negro has left Decatur, Ind. His departure was caused by the anti-Negro feeling. About a month ago a mob of 50 men drove out all the Negroes who were then making that city their home. Since that time the feeling against the Negro race has been intense, so much so that an Anti-Negro Society was organized.
“The colored man who has just left came about three weeks ago, and since that time received many threatening letters. When he appeared on the streets he was insulted and jeered at. An attack was threatened…
“The anti-negroites declare that as Decatur is now cleared of Negroes they will keep it so, and the importation of any more will undoubtedly result in serious trouble.”
The Indianapolis Freeman, on 6/14/1902, published:
“Decatur, IN, is suffering from a bad attack of ‘Negrophobia.’ On June 8th [1902] about 50 white men came together to drive all the Negroes out of the city. It appears that some time ago there was some difficulty between the whites and the colored people that had a serious ending. The whites, it is said, were determined that colored people should not live in the town. Recently colored men have returned and have been employed in hotels and restaurants. The late outbreak was for the purpose of driving the colored people out, who it is said did not number over half a dozen people.”