Home » Texas » Kirvin

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

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

Kirvin

Texas

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?
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably

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 107 6 1
2000
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Violent Expulsion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

In 1922, a white teenager was raped and murdered
in Kirvin, Texas. A search party originally formed to
find the teenager began searcing for the perpetrator
after the girl’s body was found. A local black man’s
wife, apparently disgruntled at her husband, informed
neighbors that he had come home bloody. Despite the
fact that the sherriff had two white suspects in
custody, he arrested the black man, McKinley Curry,
and forced a statement implicating the man and two
other local black men. A mob forced its way into the
jail, dragged the three men from their cells, and beat,
mutilated, and burned them alive in the public square,
in front of a crowd of 500-1000. The last man to be
burned stuck his head in the flames and inhaled,
preferring to die a quick death. The bodies were then
burned and ashes and body parts were taken home as
souveniers.
After the lynching, rumors spread among the whites
that armed blacks were going to descend on Kirvin to
retaliate for the lynching. Blacks, meanwhile, were
targeted by mobs of whites, and bodies of murdered
black residents were found almost daily. Within a
month, the nearly the entire black population had
either been killed or had fled the area.
A 1999 book, investigating the lynchings,
determined that Curry had been paid $15 to help two
white men, those who had been arrested, murder the
teenager. The other lynched men were determined to
not have been involved. The two white men were
released and never prosecuted.