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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?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
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
1930 2016 0
1940 1913 0
1950 2383 0 1
1960 2609 2603 2 4
1970 2764 2750 12 2 6
1980 3155 3101 32 18 10
1990 3076 3017 22 17 4 25 16
2000 3321 3223 37 10 13 53 10 5
2010 3458 3278 58 16 4 122 26 7

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Testimony of a former resident:
“Frankly, I would characterize Lindsborg as a very definite sundown town, and in a very insidious way. I’m not sure the college had any black students until the 1950s, when they started bringing over prospective ministerial students from places like Kenya and other Lutheran missionary strongholds in Africa. (This would have been at the time when, ironically, some progressive Lutheran ministers were having to deal with the problems of European colonialsm and its ultimate demise in Africa.) But in Lindsborg, having white Lutheran missionaires return to town to talk about their experriences in Darkest Africa was considered a highlight of many church congregations. Also, there were any number of Lutheran missionaries who made their homes in Lindsborg.) The black students who came to Bethany from Africa were always acceptable in Lindsborg because the citizenry saw then as somehow “exotic,” people who had clipped English accents, and things like that. But they always lived on campus…
In term’s of Lindsborg’s sundown experience, I thgink we could say that the town was a dividided city, much like Jersualem–the town remained Lily white, while blacks were permitted to reside on the Bethany College campus.”

Another witness claims that Lindsborg had a sign on its water tower, “All Blacks Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on your Backs.”

A student at Bethany College in the mid-1970s was told by an older white resident that blacks were not allowed in Lindsborg after dark several years ago. This resident also told the student the story of a bad car accident that occurred near town in which the injured black people were denied treatment at Lindsborg’s hospital and were instead taken twenty miles north to Salina.