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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.

Ocean Grove

New Jersey

Basic Information

Type of Place
CDP, Unincorporated Borough, or MCD
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
2000 4256 3964 168 41 4 154
2010 3342 3055 183

Method of Exclusion

  • Zoning
  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Email 2/2008

Ocean Grove, NJ. Ocean Grove is located in central Jersey outside of the city of Asbury Park, NJ. This town has changed since it opened many years ago. Today, I understand that the gates have been removed. I do know that African Americans worked in the town during the day and that they had to be out of the town by 6:00pm. I don’t know if any African Americans make their home in Ocean Grove today, but I am told the tent city operated by the Methodist Church is still there. It is a badge of honor to be able to rent or own one of these historic places. — Elizabeth Nicholson (on website say “longtime nearby resident”)

email 3/2008

This town still has the posts for where the gate used to be. — Historian, New Jersey resident

New Jersey Resident:

Asbury Park is a predominantly black town on the beach. Just south of Asbury is Ocean Grove. Ocean Grove has a long history as a religious town, complete with a huge auditorium that has religious revivals during the summer (this still continues today). But the inside word is that the town has always had a history of racism. The border between these two towns is a tidal lagoon with several footbridges over the lagoon connecting the two towns. There has always been a tall gate at the Ocean Grove end that was locked each night. Within the past 10 years there was a big controversy surrounding the gate. Asbury neighbors complained that it was a sign of racism, while Ocean Grove folks claimed that the fence helped to deter “kids” from entering the town at night. Either way you cut it, it became symbol of racism.

Unfortunately, I do not recall the outcome of this debate, but it was carried in the local paper The Coast Star.