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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.

Justice

Illinois

Basic Information

Type of Place
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Was there an ordinance?
Sign?
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?

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
2000
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

Comments

August 2007

I lived in Justice from 1955-1974 (literally raised there). In that time, the population was entirely White. When a teen, I joined the volunteer fire department as a reserve firefighter (their term for a recruit/student), this in approximately 1968. The people there at the time regularly discussed that Blacks were not welcome in the town and made particular mention that none had better move in or their house would catch fire with no volunteers responding. The fire chief I don’t think was directly involved in the conversations, however, I did see him within hearing as they took place.

Additionally, I recall a Black family driving through our neighborhood when a house on the block was for sale. One of the neighbors immediately took a shotgun out on the porch and was cleaning it, stating to all within hearing that they had better be gone by dark. The Chief of Police was on patrol and pulled up in the street and watched carefully as the family drove out of the area, never saying anything about the gun. This would have been in the late 1950’s (1958 or 59, I was only 7 or 8, yet it is a fairly vivid memory). I asked my parents, but they deny having any recollection of the incident.

We did not see a Black family move into the village until the first large apartment complexes in about 1969, and I believe these were, at least in part, government subsidized.