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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
Don’t Know
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
1920 4711 121
1930 5217 84
1940 5700 31
1950 6834 13
1990 10663 164 38

Method of Exclusion

  • Violent Expulsion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


In 1990, 151 of the 164 black residents were over 18.

Maryville had a brutal spectacle lynching by fire
of, Raymond Gunn, black, in 1931 in Nodaway County.
That led to near-sundown. Jan. 12, 1931.
The sheriff permitted the lynching and never
prosecuted anyone. Gunn was marched to the school
three miles from Maryville where he had raped and
murdered the white teacher. The white mob, >2000
strong, chained him “to the ridgepole and burned
[him] to death as the schoolhouse itself was
“There was almost a complete exodus of colored
people from town following the lynching, and for most
of the week they remained away. The Negro teacher
and the Negro minister stayed…” Whites gave a list of
ten blacks to the Negro minister “that were branded as
undesirable, and he was requested to ask these never
to return. This he did.” “Six weeks after the lynching
the teacher found herself with only six pupils, and
fearful of losing two or three of these.” Some whites
tried to run all blacks out. But businessmen refused
to fire their janitors, which some whites had
demanded, so all blacks did not leave. A few years
ago there were 35 black pupils in Nodaway. Only 16
remained by 1930, because “several colored families
moved away to place their boys and girls in high
[Arthur F. Raper, The Tragedy of Lynching (NY: Dover,
1970 [1933])]

testimony of a resident: “basically all the blacks that
lived there moved out of town. I believe that was in
the ’30’s, but there was still enough residual ambiance
that the newspaper editor was basically afraid to
publish my letters.”