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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.



Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Always Biracial
Was there an ordinance?
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
1890 3050 274
1900 2867
1910 2698 274
1920 3396
1930 3222 230
1940 3896 300
1950 4818
1960 5993 360
1970 7934 349 6
1980 9620
1990 9989 335 45
2010 20033 525 43 116

Method of Exclusion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


In every census Lebanon shows at least several black households, so it could not have been a sundown town. However, email conversation attest to the difficult living conditions for minorities, e.g.:

email on 1/1/08
I was a student a LUHS in the late 60’s. My Dad was hired by Crown Zellerbach as Personnel Manager of the mill (now closed down). Affirmative Action came into being during this time and he went to Salem to recruit blacks to meet the 10% quota established by the government. He also helped them find housing and get settled in the community. I think that she was the first black student and her husband was among the first black residents of the community. Dad went to Salem once a week and met with people at the state employment office until the quota was filled. As a Junior at LUHS it didn’t affect me much. I did show the woman around school and sit next to her in class for a while. She was a nice girl and I was a guest in her house. It was a good job for her husband. Entry level wages were more than $7.00 per hour then with good union benefits. You could live on that in 1969. Dad thought the husband was a good kid and a hard worker. There were some problems at the plant with the other workers at first as more people were brought in. That was worked out between the Union leaders and Dad. The bottom line was that if the mill didn’t comply with the Affirmative Action Program, everyone would lose out. The economics overcame the racism in the end. Although Dad represented management in his heart he was always on the side of the worker.

The residents further recalls in a later email conversation (07/2014) that “I know there were others who moved to the area as the quota was filled,” and concludes about Lebanon that “I can only say that Lebanon was a racist small town, not untypical of many small towns in that time. I have a very clear memory of my Dad discussing bringing the black men to town to work at the mill. It was a big deal at the time.”

Another email testimony from 2011:
“Lebanon was well known for housing the KKK.”