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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.

Johnson City

New York

Basic Information

Type of Place
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?
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
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
1920 8587 0
1960 19118 1
2000 15535 13805 480 766 29 347

Method of Exclusion

  • Zoning
  • Other
  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black
  • Other
  • Unknown


Johnson City Resident:

“…. For some reason, Johnson City, a company town as was Endicott, but not Binghamton, had an almost completely north European population, significantly American born. Nearly all the Slavs and Italians lived in Binghamton or Johnson City. The first restrictive real estate covenants that we found here, drawn up by the Endicott Land Company (a subsidiary of EJ), bound signatories not to convey real property to people of Italian ancestry. Why would an enterprise that hired thousands of Italians, subsidized their churches and their ethnic festivals, discriminate against them in the real estate market?”

Johnson City resident:

“When my father was growing up in Johnson City he could not remember a single black person in town, which was strange since there were all sorts of other ethnicities moving in, primarily from Eastern and Southern Europe.
He does remember a large population in Binghamton, which is attached to Johnson City.
The towns of Vestal, Johnson City and Endicott exploded in population from the 1890s 1940s, but there was no appearance of blacks.
He does not remember any “laws” or outward stipulations against blacks.
His one point was, though, that these were company towns, controlled by the Endicott Johnson Shoe Company (the two towns were named after the company’s founders).
George F. Johnson owned most of the homes, controlled the factories and employed the vast majority of the people.
My dad says you could not build or even start a business in any of these towns without gaining George’s permission.
Perhaps Mr. Johnson made an anti black policy that was never “official” according to the towns and that the disappearance of Endicott Johnson Shoes ended this policy.”