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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.

Deerfield

Illinois

Basic Information

Type of Place
Suburb
Metro Area
N. Chicago
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Surely
Was there an ordinance?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Sign?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1860
1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
1930
1940
1950 3286 1
1960
1970 5313 26 4
1980
1990
2000 18420 61 18
2010 18040 94 34
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Violent Expulsion
  • Threat of Violence
  • Violence Towards Newcomers
  • Private Bad Behavior
  • Reputation

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

Chicago Defender (National Edition) (1921-1967); Dec.5, 1959; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Chicago Defender pg.1

Deerfield Integration Furor Puts Town on Map by Jim Foree

%u201DDeerfield Welcomes You,%u201D a sign posted at the eastern entrance to the north shore village, apparently does not have reference to Negroes, judging from the uproar which has greeted plans to build an integrated housing subdivisions in Deerfield.

Although most of the residents do not come out and say they oppose the plan because it includes Negroes, it is implied. Most of the say they fear a lost in property values and what they consider the manner in which the developers move into Deerfield.

N.J. Firm
An announcement two weeks ago by the Progress Development corporation, a subsidiary of the Modern Community Developers of Princeton, N.J. that it planned to build an interracial subdivision in Deerfield touched off the controversy….

***

“Arson. Vandalism. Firebombs. A charred wooden cross on a front lawn.”
“This was Deerfield, 1959. An integrated subdivision had been proposed, and violence erupted.” Deerfield went to the courts, turned the subdivision site into a park. “Deerfield became a symbol of Northern racial outrage, and homes became difficult to sell because few persons were interested in buying into an area of possible racial conflict.

***

The book But Not Next Door provides a detailed account of the condemnation of land where an integrated neighborhood was being built. The book shows that many residents in Deerfield felt that Blacks in the town would lower housing values. It also cites racist comments made at village board meetings.
Rosen, Harry M., and David H. Rosen. But Not next Door. New York: I. Obolensky, 1962.