Home » Arizona » Prescott

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

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

Prescott

Arizona

Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Strong

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Probable
Was there an ordinance?
Yes, Written Evidence
Sign?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Blacks

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1860
1870
1880
1890
1900 3,359 3,249 77 215 2
1910 5,093 113
1920
1930 5,517 148
1940 6,018 123
1950
1960 12,861 127
1970
1980
1990
2000 33,938 31,538 171 283 432 2,773 941
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black
  • Native American
  • Hispanic

Comments

A resident of Prescott said that there signs in
Prescott that read,”Ethnoid, don’t let the sun set on
you here.” There were also covenants against
selling property to “Ethnoids”, or ordinances
prohibiting “Ethnoids” from renting, owning, living
in certain communities, etc.

The resident also said that she remembers seeing a
sign (perhaps in the book “Westering Man” by Bill
Gilbert) that stood at the city limits of Prescott in
the 1960’s that read, “Nigger Don’t Let the Sun Set
On You Here.”

In addition, the resident added that Prescott had a
bad reputation among Indians too. Apparently a
group of white men calling themselves the Smoke
eyes did an annual fake Indian dance for some city
celebration. The local Indian peoples were unable
to stop doing this.

According to Bill Gilbert in his book “Westering
Man”: “Even in comparison with other early mining
communities, the camps around Prescott were
rough and wretched. Among other things, the
place was permeated by racism of the most blatant
and vicious sort. Included in the first ordinances
passed by the miner-citizens was one which
prohibited ‘Asiatics and Senoranians [i.e. Mexicans]’
from filing claims, working, or living in the district.
This was later amended because the exclusion of
the latter proved inconvenient, both Mexican
laborers and traders being useful to the miners.
Therefore, a committee was established to
determine ‘who are and who are not Mexicans.’
Desirable ‘Senoranians’ were certified as Spanish.”

Gilbert continued, “The attitudes and behavior of
the early miners became traditional in Prescott,
which well into the twentieth century prided itself,
informally, on being the ‘Only white man’s town in
Arizona’…The Arizona Miner, a weekly newspaper
established in Prescott in 1864, put the matter [re
Indians] in an editorial: ‘We see no other remedy %
u2014 than to exterminate nearly if not the whole
race of savages on the Pacific coast, and the sooner
this is accomplished the better for the whole
country…In reality, there were probably no more
than 500 Indians, of all ages and sexes, in the
vicinity of Prescott, and hunting them down became
something of a blood sport, the pleasures of which
were enhanced by the conviction that bagging
savages contributed to the spread of civilization.”

Prescott was a mining town in the mid-1990s.