Home » Minnesota » Fairmont

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?
Don’t Know

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1990 11,265 5
2000 10,889 10,409 48 14

Method of Exclusion

  • Threat of Violence
  • Private Bad Behavior

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


“I grew up in Fairmont, MN. I was born in 1967 and
lived there until 1985. Fairmont is a bigger/smaller
town surrounded by a lot of really really small towns.
That is to say, Fairmont’s population back then was
about 10,500 and is surrounded by towns maybe
500-1000. Growing up there was one black family in
the whole town. And Fairmont does have a 6:00pm
whistle. In addition during your talk I remembered a
teacher telling us once about a town where people
expected shop owners to charge different prices to
blacks than whites and now I wonder if he was talking
about Fairmont…. I’m not sure how integrated
Fairmont is now….

“The Martin County historical society has information
on the KKK population in Fairmont in the 1920s.
Martin County had about 3000 registered Klan
members….that’s huge for the area….during the
country’s 150 year celebration they hosted a huge
Klan rally in the area and had crowds of 20,000
25,000. They were said to have a woman’s auxilary
numbered in the hundreds. I believe the area where
this was held is now a golf course. The article states
that at one point they were able to elect both the
mayer and the city council.”
-Former resident

A school teacher confirmed previous testimonies about Fairmont, but added: “There is one major omission: The Klan in Fairmont was primarily anti-Catholic. There were almost no Blacks in the area. Catholic kids growing up in this period remember harassment from other kids. The KKK traditions were followed, but were anti-catholic and anti-immigrant focused. There may have been a town whistle at one time, but it certainly had nothing to do with sending Blacks out of town.”