Home » Illinois » Pinckneyville

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?
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
1990 3372
2000 5464 3893 1331 5
2010 5648 1425 3

Method of Exclusion

  • Violence Towards Newcomers
  • Reputation
  • Other

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Pincneyville’s population numbers are skewed because of the town’s prison.

email 11/2007:
Pinckneyville, a recent (c.2005) graduate of SIU reports that the
ed. school does not place black ed. students in P’ville HS, because bad
things have happened in the past.

“My grandparents found a black man hanging in the woods, near Woodside Ford.” (According to a local historian)

“Lynching is not becoming less frequent. The average holds nearly uniform one year after another. States that never knew the outbreak of the mob have been shocked and horrified by outbreaks of this spirit within their boundaries. The custom of appealing to that grim ‘judge’ is spreading, and thus far no means have ever been devised that will stamp it out. It lies too deeply in the emotions.” (“Why We Appeal To Judge Lynch,” Pinckneyville Advocate, 10/27/1911.

Feb. 14, 1888. Seems the black man was being held, at the county jail. The town was in an uproar, at the slow process. A group of very angry men awoke the jail warden, over powered justice, broke in and hanged the man, at a hanging tree. (Chicago Tribune)

I retain from my year in Pinckneyville was the blatant racism that I encountered there. One of the town’s beloved teachers (“Doc Thomas”) used to openly make racial slurs in the classroom. About half of the congregation at the church I attended got up and walked out when the regular minister brought in a black guest minister. The sheriff openly displayed a photograph of a black man hanging from a railroad trestle outside of town. (According to a 1966 PHS graduate)

At a 2003-2004 PHS basketball game vs. Mt. Vernon, a Mt. Vernon fan was called a “nigger lover.”