Home » Illinois » Orland Park

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

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

Orland Park


Basic Information

Type of Place
Metro Area
S. Chicago
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
1870 2 Twp
1880 1 Mulatto Twp
1890 - - -
1900 368 0
1910 369 0
1920 343 0
1930 571 0
1940 631 3 Twp
1950 788 3 Twp
1960 2,592 2,585 0
1970 6,391 1
1980 23,045 22,343 0 0
1990 35,720 34,088 140 40
2000 51,077 47,772 374 116

Method of Exclusion

  • Realtors

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


There were no African Americans in Orland Park in 1980, total population being 23,045.

A longtime family explained that around 1980 there was a fire in the only black residence. The Fire Department allegedly never responded to the call.

On Monday, November 23, 2009, The Justice Department Sued a Chicago Area Landlord for Refusing to Rent to African Americans. It was alleged that the property owner and rental agent, “refused to rent a single-family house he owns in Orland Park, IL. to an African-American, because of his race. The lawsuit also alleges that Flanagan asked a white tester employed by the Justice Department whether her husband was African-American and admitted to her that he did not want to rent to African-Americans.” http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2009/November/09-crt-1271.html

According to a teacher at the local high school in Orland Park, there were no African American teachers employed at the school in 2011, although there is one black teacher’s aide as well as one African American administrator.

According to a 20-year resident of Orland Park and longtime employee for the village, %u201CI would argue that racial steering occurred. Realtors did advise people where to move and purchase homes.%u201D

When plans were proposed by a small group of American Muslims to build a mosque known as The Prayer Center of Orland Park, a number of outraged residents protested. An Orland Park Plan Commission meeting was held to discuss the construction of the mosque. The public hearing was the longest meeting in town history, lasting approximately four hours. Many opponents as well as proponents (Muslims and non-Muslims) came to the meeting after reading the anonymous anti-mosque fliers that were sent to every home in Orland Park shortly before the scheduled hearing. According to various residents, police officers, and officials of Orland Park, “it was a heated debate. The Civic Center was packed with hundreds of people. There were no physical altercations, although there were heated verbal arguments between the Muslim community and some citizens. Yet, according to a 26-year resident and devout Muslim and leader in the mosque, %u201Cthe opponents at the hearings were unrepresentative of Orland Park.%u201D 80% of those who attended the hearings were bigots. It was a small demographic who opposed what we were trying to do.%u201D He also said that the town has grown more accepting. For example in 2008, the mosque won approval to add a community center next to The Prayer Center with relative ease. There was no opposition to the community center, and the 26-year resident feels that %u201Cafter four years of seeing the mosque, people realized there was nothing to be scared of. People are also getting used to seeing women in hijab around town, which was not the case fifteen years ago. It isn’t just that people are racist, I think that people are just not used to seeing blacks, Arabs, and other groups.”