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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.


New York

Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Don’t Know
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Don’t Know

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
2000 115715 110546 748 2763 78 3855

Method of Exclusion

  • Zoning
  • Realtors

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Unknown


Email 1/2008
This town is the subject of a lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act which argues that the failure of the town to provide subsidized housing operates to discriminate based on race.

Lawsuit was filed in federal district court by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. Vargas et al v. Town of Smithtown, Eastern District of New York, December 13, 2007.

From “Smithtown attitude: It’s wrong about affordable housing,” Newsday, 8/19/2004:
The stubbornness of many politicians in Smithtown renders them impervious to this reality that almost everyone else seems to accept: Long Island has a serious lack of homes and apartments that working families can afford.
One quote from one official pretty much says it all. In a Newsday story earlier this week, detailing how Smithtown has done zilch to deal with this shortage, Councilwoman Joanne Gray said it’s not much of an issue in her town.
“We don’t have a lot of diversity,” Gray said, referring to her almost all-white town. Her point was that other towns are more needful of affordable housing because they have larger minority populations. “Go into Huntington, and you’ll find Huntington Station – where there are Hispanics.”
That neatly summarizes the pernicious view that building affordable homes is about “them,” meaning someone who looks different from most folks in Smithtown. The truth is that it’s about all of us. It’s about helping our children to find a home of their own on Long Island, instead of living in our basements or moving away. Increasingly, business leaders and non-Smithtown public officials understand that.
Sadly, Smithtown is the only town not to have asked the Long Island Housing Partnership, a highly effective housing organization, to become involved in the town. That’s unlikely to change until voters let politicians know that this issue truly matters. Gray can say what she said only because too many people refuse to recognize the real problem.”