Home » California » Oildale

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

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

Oildale

California

Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Surely
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Sign?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
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
1860
1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
1930
1940
1950
1960
1970 20879 9
1980
1990 40
2000 27885 24814 95 93 611 2828 1337
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Threat of Violence
  • Private Bad Behavior

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

Several long time residents tell of a sign reading
“Nigger, Don’t Let The Sun Set On You in Oildale”,
which was removed in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
A former high school teacher in Oildale heard that the
sign stood until the 1970s. This same teacher had a
black male student who chose to live with family
members in another state rather than live in Oildale,
and a black female student who had no friends in the
local high school. The teacher has noticed an “in bred
culture of racism”.

Another resident reports that until 1998, “nigger
don’t let the sun go down on you here” was
spraypainted on the back of a billboard.

“I remember my grandfather not being able to
find work as a black college educated man, my
mother’s stories of signs re: not serving blacks, jews,
dogs.”
-posted 2005

“Several of the red neck type patients told me to
steer clear of that town. They told me of a cross
burning on… a black man’s lawn. He apparently was
married to an Asian. I was also told that the sundown
law still applied. It was rumoured that the sign,
warning blacks, was still standing but boldly I drove
into the town on didn’t see anything like that… I
always felt afraid to venture too far off the 5 freeway
in the entire Bakersfield area.”
-woman who worked at a CA clinic in 1994