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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.

Hays

Kansas

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

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Probable
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Sign?
No
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
1860
1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
1930 4618 0
1940
1950 8625 8623 1 1
1960 11947 11938 1 8
1970 15396 15
1980 16162 9
1990 17767 85
2000 20013 159
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

“It was always whispered by my family that Nicodemus
residents should be out of Hays, KS by sundown.”
Apparently, Hays comes close to being a
legitimate sundown town in Kansas, based on the
town’s history as the home to Fort Hays, a western
outpost that garrisoned units of the so called “Buffalo
Soldier” black cavalry units between 1865 and 1889.
According to Francis Schruben, who grew up in
nearby Stockton during the 1920s and 1930s, Hays
had a reputation as a town where blacks were not
always real welcome, probably owing to the
experience of having Fort Hays adjacent to the town.
Francis says that he never heard of any official signs
advising black people to vacate at sundown.
Ironically, Francis says the local state university in
Hays never had any black athletes until well in to the
40s and beyond.
I have talked with that local historian at the Hays
Public Library, and she indicated today that Hays never
posted a “sundown’ sign although stories to that
effect seemed to circulate around the state as late as
the 1930s.”