Home » Indiana » Hobart

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
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
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
1920 34350 16
1930 5787 4
1940 7166
1950 10244 21
1970 21485 12
1980 22987 43
1990 21822 48
2000 25363 353 136 53 2042

Method of Exclusion

  • Threat of Violence
  • Private Bad Behavior
  • Reputation

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Hobart had a sign in the 1970s, according to a local high school teacher.

Another resident writes: %u201CThere is an interesting story of chain migration for this example. A friend of my mothers used to live on a block in Riverdale where most (perhaps all) the homeowners were related to each other. When black families started buying homes in Riverdale, all the people on this black sold their houses one by one, and all moved to Hobart, Indiana, where they again bought or built houses in close proximity to one another. They still make the long commute to the south suburbs. (I’ve come across other cases of racial chain migration. One involved a group of friends from Kensington, the neighborhood next to Pullman. All the members of this group of friends bought lots in Frankfort in the early 1970s when Kensington was changing and helped each other build new houses. At that time Frankfort was still a small rural town, beyond the fringes of the suburbs.) I believe that many whites are willing to pay a premium, what I call a racial rent, to live in an all white neighborhood or suburb. However, some whites can not afford overpriced houses in established sundown suburbs. The solution is to choose a town beyond suburban development where the population is white and prices are still low. Some whites simply buy lots and build their own houses. Eventually, the effects of racial change and suburban development will catch up to such fringe towns. Frankfort, for example, is now an extensively developed suburb. It is still all white. Houses there now cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, so the racial rent is in full force. Nevertheless, one of the suburbs bordering on Frankfort, Matteson, now has a substantial black population, so all the attempts to move far away from African Americans have been futile after all.%u201D

A former Hobart resident writes: “My next door neighbor was fond of saying that, along with the population marker and the sign noting Hobart as the home of the Brickies, the initials T.N.T. (which stood for ‘travel, nigger, travel’) were posted to warn blacks not to be in town after dark.” He reports that “There were no blacks in Hobart” and that there are very few now though Hobart adjoins Gary, IN%u201D

Another former Hobart resident writes: %u201CI did not personally see these signs but I remember hearing about them. It was readily explained to me what they meant on both occasions that I heard about them. The first time was from my next door neighbor, when I was 11 or 12. I have little reason to doubt these signs existed, but I do not know where or when they were posted. I went to Ridge View Elementary School, which is located on Old Ridge Road on the westside of town near the Gary border. I remember a story of a black family attempting to move in and their car being firebombed. I’m pretty sure this story is what got me thinking about TNT as both a warning and a threat, and my question might have elicited my neighbor%u2019s response.
I might also have heard reference to TNT in connection to people in Hobart, adults, joking about Jesse Jackson’s slogan “Run, Jesse, Run” when he ran for President in 1984.%u201D