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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.

Fontana

California

Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Probable
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Sign?
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
1860
1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
1930
1940
1950
1960 14659 1
1970 20673 95
1980
1990 87535 7616
2000 158235 103581 18662 9075 880 101379 21595
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Violence Towards Newcomers
  • Police or Other Official Action

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

In 1945, the Shorts, a black family from Los
Angeles, bought a home in Fontana. In December of
that year, the Shorts were visited by vigilantes,
possibly Klansmen, who ordered the family to move.
O’Day Short refused and reported the threats to the
FBI, the county sherriff, and the Los Angeles black
press. He and his family were not provided protection,
and were advised to move by the sherriff’s office
before any “disagreeableness” occurred. The Fontana
Chamber of Commerce offered to buy the Shorts out,
but they refused. A few days later, a fire consumed the
Short house and killed the entire family. Although the
fire was noted to be of “unusual intensity” and
witnesses came forward with evidence that it was
arson, the district attorney labeled the fire an accident.
An arson investigator hired by the NAACP invesitgated
and determined the fire was an arson, but nothing was
done. Witnesses were not allowed to testify before the
grand jury.

Fontana’s black population in 1970 consisted of
13 married couples and there children, among others,
suggesting that Fontana broke sometime between
1960 and 1970.