Home » Illinois » Johnston City

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.

Johnston City

Illinois

Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Surely
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Sign?
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People

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
1970
1980
1990 3706
2000 3557 3524 4
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Police or Other Official Action
  • Reputation

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

Although there never was an anti-black ordinance, it was well understood that blacks were not permitted to stay in town over night. In the late 1940s, the police often followed any car containing blacks that turned off Route 37 into town. And there were many such cars on that Route because it was a main line from the South to Chicago. (Taken in 2002 from a former student.)

There were black maids in Johnston City in the 1920s but “they weren’t allowed out of doors after dark.”

If a black person had tried to move to that southern Illinois town, the chief of police “would have told them to leave, and that would have been all it would take.”

When I was a sophomore in HS (late 1980s), we had a black family move in town for about a month. They were driven out by hate crimes.