Home » North Carolina » Mitchell County

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

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

Mitchell County

North Carolina

Basic Information

Type of Place
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Don’t Know

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1890 12,807 553
1900 15,221 536
1910 343
1920 11,278 56
1930 13,962 56
1960 13,906 38
1990 14,433 23
2000 15,687 34

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Census figures show that Mitchell County’s black
population dropped significantly between 1900 and
1920 and again between 1920 and 1920. The black
population also failed to grow between 1920 and
1930 while the white population grew by over 2,000

In 1923, blacks were brought in to build roads and
work in mines. After a white woman was raped by an
escaped black convict, a white mob in Mitchell County
drove out the black population.

“[My mother] thought there was a good chance a good
part of the county, if not the whole county, has some
sun down traditions… She has heard some stories of
intimidation in the area. A local told her of a black
who moved to the area and disappeared. A black
couple moved into the Burnsville area and left after
some time, but they told my mother it was because
they were nasty and people didn’t like them. There are
definitely people with the attitudes and ways of
thinking that blacks should not live with whites. When
she’s attended churches, some have by laws against
‘mixed race’ marriages. Even at the shelter where she
helps, women expressed that they didn’t want blacks
living there.”
-posted to the web, 2005