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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.

Grand Saline


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
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
We Have Data on How it Changed

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 1799 3
1940 1641 1636 5 0
1950 1810 1
1960 4540 3
1970 2257 2246 1 10 3
1990 2630 1
2000 3028 2784 18 5 11 428 210 3

Method of Exclusion

  • Violent ExpulsionReputation

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


“According to several oral history subjects I
interviewed in the 1980s and 1990s, East Texas’
Grand Saline (Van Zandt County) was not all black in
the late nineteenth century but did have a sizable
black population. Sometime during or after
Reconstruction (I was unable to do better than that)
whites attacked the black residents in a city wide
pogrom, killing all who were unable to escape.
According to one interviewee, the mass killings were
followed by mutilation of the corpses for public
display. Thereafter it became a notorious ‘sundown’
town; I don’t think any signs were necessary. That
reputation continued well into the late twentieth
century. I’m not sure of its current population, but a
couple of 1980s interviewees mentioned its all white
status with considerable pride.”
-posted to the web, 2006

Andrew Puller, former slave and Beaumont resident,
interviewed some years ago, reported that in Grand
Saline “dey had a big sign dere wid ‘Nigger, don’t let
de sun go down on you here’ on it.”

Nearby TX Resident.
“we used to play them in sports. They were a very well known as a ‘sundown’ town to me as a child. Our coaches used to threaten to drop the black kids off in Grand Saline (as a sick joke) for misbehaving on the school bus to and from games. I do believe that they had a sign at their city limits stating “don’t let the sun go down on you, nigger” — or something like that.

A nearby TX resident remembers a sign in Grand Saline and had an African American friend who avoided the town.

A resident has pointed out that as of June 2014 there are 5 black families living in Grand Saline and the sign has been removed.