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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.

Reading

Ohio

Basic Information

Type of Place
Suburb
Metro Area
Cincinnati
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Probable
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Sign?
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
Year of Greatest Interest
1930s
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 3076
1910 3985
1920 4540 77
1930 5723 59
1940 6079 0
1950 7836 0 3
1960 12831 1
1970 14303 60 30
1980 12843
1990 12038 172
2000 11292 361
2010 10385 756 13 100
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

According to a local college student, Reading and Lockland, suburbs NE of Cincinnati, were connected by a bridge that is marked: “1909 The first concrete rainbow arch bridge built in Ohio.” It still stands. It goes over a small stream that divides the towns.
There was a sign on a bridge that read “No Niggers After Dark.”

Testimony of a Reading resident: “There was a sign on the bridge between Reading and Lockland that told ’em they had to be out by sundown. It was gone by 1940. I was sborn in 1930. I heard about it from my Dad.” Blacks lived in Lockland and in Lincoln Heights.

One eyewitness notes, “During the course of my life, I have come to know far too many places that meet the criteria you have defined… I will name three of them for you, they are:
Reading, Ohio [blacks there by the 1970s]
Milton, West Virginia
Nappa Valley, California”

According to a former resident who lived in the town from 1936 to 1942, “I recall that it was sort of understood (although I don’t remember how we became aware of this) that blacks were not allowed in town after sundown. I don’t recall seeing more than one or two in town in the daytime during the entire time I lived there.”