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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.

South Pasadena


Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Los Angeles/San Diego
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

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

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 13730 35
1940 14356 210
1960 19706 7
2000 24292 14653 738 83 8821

Method of Exclusion

  • Police or Other Official Action

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black
  • Hispanic
  • Other


On February 2, 2022, the South Pasadena City Council passed a resolution acknowledging its past as a sundown town and proposing “Equity-developing activities.” Details are available here: https://www.coloradoboulevard.net/south-pasadena-condemns-its-history-as-a-sundown-town/ The City Council’s full resolution is here:  https://www.southpasadenaca.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/28302/637805957085730000/

In the 1940s, civic leaders announced that
African, Mexican, and Asian Americans could work in
South Pasadena, but could not live there and could not
be in the town after dusk. The campaign received
heavy publicity and eventually failed.

“The city of S. Pasadena, CA, provides an
example of the extreme to which the trend toward
restictive racial and religious covenants can go. In
South Pasadena restrictive covenants, denying persons
not of the Caucasian race the right to live within its
municipal boundaries, are a matter of official policy.
The city administration has been charged with
promoting the program under which the entire city will
be blanketed with restrictive agreements.”

“The restrictive covenants specify that non-
Caucasians may reside in the city as servants,
caretakers, and in similar menial work. Non-
Caucasians may work in the city in other capacities,
but they must be outside its limits by nightfall.”

A USC professor, who is an American Indian and
of Mexican descent, purchased a house in South
Pasadena in 1964. The house came with a restrictive
convenant forbidding Mexicans, but the realtor did not
know that this professor’s family was originally from