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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.

Oolitic

Indiana

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

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 1155 0 0
1980 1495 0
1990 1424 0
2000 1152 0
2010 1184 3 0
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Threat of Violence

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

An Indiana lawyer related in 2004 that because stone carvers didn’t want black strikebreakers, they kept out all blacks, with signs to that effect. He personally saw the signs.

A 2007 newspaper account tells of an IU geologist who visited the quarry in Oolitic in 1980 and was told by a resident that the reason “why it’s a nice town” was that “‘There ain’t no niggers here.'”

The 2010 Census also lists five persons of mixed black/other ancestry.

A resident of Lawrence County who grew up in Oolitic wrote in 2013, “I seriously doubt if 95% of current Oolitic residents would mind if a black family moved in, and thankfully those who would mind are the oldest segment of the population. There are Asian students attending school in Oolitic now too, which I think is a great sign that most people are past the racism of the past.” Hopefully his optimism is right, but his statement raises two questions. First, it should not be whites’ business to mind or not to mind if a black family moved in. They would never think to mind or not to mind if a white family moved in, but would base their welcome level on the individual characteristics of its members. Second, Asian Americans have become “honorary whites” in a sense, so their acceptance does not necessarily presage a similar response to African Americans.