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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

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 1382 3
1950 1304 0
1960 2480 3
1990 3502 2
2000 3615 1

Method of Exclusion

  • Violence Towards Newcomers
  • Private Bad Behavior
  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


“One Negro family moved into Oneida in 1925, but dynamite was dropped on their house and they were severely injured. They soon left and no others ever came in. One Negro hobo [between the world wars] got off a freight train in Oneida; police and civilians started toward him and he started running. His bullet-riddled body was brought back out of the woods in about an hour. One young pilot from Scott County in WWII who saw the Negro after he was killed remarked on his return from the War, ‘You know, as I watched the blood flow from the wounds of the dead and dying Negroes on our transport planes, I thought of that old Negro who was killed in Oneida.’ Living in one world and seeing all Americans making the supreme sacrifice for America has taught the younger generation that the color of a man’s skin has nothing to do with what’s in his heart. There is not a colored family living in Scott County at the present time.”
[Esther S. Sanderson, County Scott and Its Mountain Folk (Nashville: Williams Printing, 1958), 186.]

Testimony of a former resident:
“I moved there during the summer of 1987, and the first black person (that I am aware of) moved there around 1989. I believe she got married in late 1990 or early 1991, so her husband would have been the second black person to live there. She actually came to Oneida because she was a doctor who was working off her school loans rather than paying them back monetarily.
My father and I left Oneida in the summer of 1991, and the rest of my family moved in the spring of 1992. The agreement with the government was that the doctor would work in Oneida for 3 or 4 years I believe, but I seem to remember that a friend of mine who still lived in Oneida told me she moved shortly after my family left. She had originally planned to move her nieces and nephews into Oneida, but my friend gave the impression that the doctor changed her mind when my dad (who had been Superintendent of Schools while we lived there) left Oneida. I always thought she was very well received by the town. In fact, she was the team doctor for Oneida’s sports teams, but my understanding about why she didn’t move her family and, in fact, left Oneida herself was that she didn’t trust whoever came in as superintendent after my dad.
A couple of years later, a new black family moved in, but I don’t know if they still live there or how many were in their family.
I remember hearing people say there were still sundown signs (of course that wasn’t what they called them) at the edge of town until around the 1970’s. This is hearsay, so I don’t know if I could prove it or even how I would go about doing so since I was so young when I lived there.”