Home » Illinois » Robinson

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?
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
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
1910 3863 31
1920 3375 13
1930 6615 6615 0
1950 6407 0
1990 6740
2000 6822 6548 79
2010 7713 877 35

Method of Exclusion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


“I grew up in Robinson in the 50’s and 60’s. I vaguely remember an incident that took place in the early to mid 60’s that involved a visiting high school basketball team that was not allowed to stay in the hotel and were put up in the local jail overnight while the basketball tournament was going on. I remember my parents being horrified at the time that children spent the night in the jail… but it did happen. That should tell you something about the town.”

“I graduated from Robinson High in 1993. I lived in Robinson since I was in preschool and I never had any problems until High School. Since I graduated from high school I heard rumors that there is still a document in the courthouse that says “colored” people are not allowed in town after dark.

My Dad told me that he remembers just before the civil rights movement in the early 60’s there was a sign outside by the city limits sign that read, “nigger, don’t let the sun set on your back in Robinson, Ill”.

1950 “Robinson was hosting a state playoff football game. They were playing a large school from upstate. The distance was so great that the school made arrangements to spend the night after the game at a hotel, and then return the next day. Well, there was a black player on the team, which evidently created some consternation. As told by my grandma, it was among the law enforcement. Arrangements were made for the black player to stay with a black family in Lawrence county to the south. Grandma explained that this was standard procedure. Why? Grandma said it had to do with rumors of a black man raping a young woman in Robinson in some mystical time in the past.”

Much of the black population today consists of inmates at the Robinson Correctional Center.