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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 St. Paul


Basic Information

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

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
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
1990 20,197 19,725 87 23
2000 20,167 18,680 258 85

Method of Exclusion

  • Private Bad Behavior

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black
  • Asian


“I grew up in South St. Paul, Minnesota, a blue collar suburb of St. Paul. In the 60’s, it was the home of many packing plant employees. My Japanese American family moved there after the WWII (father was in Italy & France with the 442nd, mother was in camp in Utah.)
Although the neighbors passed around a petition to keep us out, my father’s National Guard buddies (white) supported our move. I was always aware that we were the only non white family in town for many years, but didn’t know why that might be. Years later, at a high school reunion, a friend said, ‘Didn’t you know? The packing plants had an agreement with the city not to allow its non white employees to live in town.”
-former resident

According to a former resident, “I understand that there were people of color in the workforce. The father of my best friend worked in the stockyards for many years. He stated that there was some sort of understanding between the stockyards/packing plants and the city of South St. Paul that the former were allowed to hire minorities, as long as these employees didn’t reside in South St. Paul. I do know that our neighbors tried to keep us from moving in by passing around a petition. My father’s army and National Guard buddies (white) rallied around him, though, allowing us to move in.”

An article entitled, “The Negro Out West,” by Kelly Miller in 1927 wrote, “While in Minneapolis and St. Paul last fall I learned that there is a set policy to keep the Negro out of stated lines of employment. Henry Ford located one of his chief branch plants at the head of the Father of Waters with the declared policy of employing Negro workers…but local sentiment compelled him to reduce the number of colored help to the vanishing point” (The New York Amsterdam News)
ProQuest Historical Newspapers