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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.

LaSalle Peru

Illinois

Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Probable
Was there an ordinance?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Sign?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
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

Email 1/2008

My father had told me that the town had signs that said in essence “Nigger, don’t let the sun set on you”. It’s heavily Eastern European and I believe settled mainly by miners and workers from the old Illinois and Michigan Canal.
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LaSalle-Peru became all-white after the lynching of a black man. The high school was all-white until 1998. The Chicago Tribune of 1889 stated, “The miners of LaSalle, Peru, and Spring Valley do not allow a Negro in their city limits.” A former resident also stated that he saw signs growing up.

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Email 1/2008

I thought I should mention that it’s not accurate that the high school was all-white until 1998. I graduated in 1981 and had an African-American classmate who transferred to the school in 1979 or 1980 and played football and ran track, so it’s not like his existence was unknown to the community, which was and is sports-mad.
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One long time resident claimed that the town had a whistle. She was born in 1942 and grew up in LaSalle Peru. The whistle blew around sun set. -email, February 2012