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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?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
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
1890 21
1900 5580 5519 11
1920 6122 3
1930 5835 2
1950 6178 4
1990 5796
2000 5614 5563 4
2010 5847 5754 5

Method of Exclusion

  • Violent ExpulsionReputation

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Sept. 28, 1898, “Striking union coal miners and imported Negroes engaged in a pitched battle on the main street. 100 shots were exchanged.” Five blacks wounded; no one wounded in the union ranks. One bystander wounded. 30 more shots at Third and Locust. “State and county warrants were issued the next morning for all blacks who were in the riot. Sheriff asks for militia. (Millie Meyerholtz, When Hatred and Fear Ruled … Pana Illinois: The 1898-99 Mine War (Pana, IL: Pana News, 2001)

“Fighting and shooting, from Sept. 1, 1898, had become common in the streets of Pana.” Elmer Pope “saw blacks being chased down alleys and through yards and being struck with rocks by whites. Some whites also carried sticks or makeshift clubs.” Various groups of blacks went back south on trains. “‘The strikers were hostile and antagonistic to those who [blacks] decided to remain; the blacks retaliated in kind. There was a daily passage of insults, slights, and shoves which led to street brawls and secret means of revenge. Each side antagonized the other…” Republicans sided with the mine owners, Democrats with the miners. (Millie Meyerholtz, When Hatred and Fear Ruled … Pana Illinois: The 1898-99 Mine War (Pana, IL: Pana News, 2001)

One resident has heard multiple times that the town’s name stands for “people against niggers association”. -email, February 2012