Home » Arkansas » Springdale

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?
Don't Know
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Surely Not

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 2,763 0
1940 3,319 0
1950 5,835 0
1960 10,076 0
1970 16,783 0
1990 29,941 33
2000 45,798 37,380 377 772 431 9,005 5,079

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


“Springdale used to be ‘Sundown Town’ as
recently as twenty years ago, but now has a large
number of Hispanics living there.”

A 1952 brochure from the Chamber of
Commerce touts Springdale as “a city of 7,000
people, all white native born true Americans.”

“I have a friend… [who] saw it himself. Bill
can’t for sure say he saw it past the late 50s. A man
at the senior center places last seeing it in ‘the 60s.’
Yet other people around here mention that it was
seen as late as 1976.
“It was wooden, at the city limits, near a
cluster of Kiwanas club and other signs. It faced
Fayetteville (south). It read, according to my senior
center witness, ‘Black man, don’t let the sun set on
your back’ in this town…
“Bill says the last few times he saw it, it was
faded, the paint peeling. This is interesting,
because it shows how 2 different populations can
claim opposite truths and both be right: If you saw
it and knew what it *used* to say, you’d say, ‘it was
there as late as x year.’ But if you weren’t an old
timer, all you’d see when you looked in the same
spot is a faded old sign; you wouldn’t really ‘see’ it.
You could truthfully say, I was there in x year, and
there was no such sign. So it remained as a ‘trace’
or residue for a long time. And no one ever said
anything like, ‘This sign is a shame – let’s
acknowledge what it was – we must tear it down
now, in a very public way.’
“They just let it fade away silently, and slunk
away from it, so to speak. And now the young
students want to deny it was even ever there.”
-UA-Fayetteville professor

“[My sister] told me that it was certainly well
known that blacks did not live in or even visit
Springdale until very recently. She is an accountant
and even today a black client of her’s who lives in
Fayetteville is very reluctant to bring his taxes to
her because Springdale has such a notorious
reputation for violence toward blacks. She is not
sure about whether the city had a law on the books
but there certainly was a de facto law. That there
were no blacks does not seem to be accidental.
There are a few black people who now live in
Springdale but do not have an easy time of it. The
odd thing is that there has been a large influx of
Hispanics and southeast Asians who’ve come to
work in the chicken plants. They are much better
accepted than blacks, but that’s not saying a whole
lot… My brother in law is a cop and I’ve often heard
him laugh about stopping black men for no reason
and then provoking them into reacting to him so he
would then have a ‘reason’ to beat them up. He was
quite proud that he could do this and then be able
to arrest them. Some joke, eh?”
-Arkansas resident

A Christian Coalition meeting held a debate
among 5 Springdale mayoral candidates. In a
discussion about non-discrimination clauses,
“candidate Timothy Hill went much, much farther
[than other candidates], to the first applause of the
evening and several other expressions of
enthusiasm. ‘Homosexuals are perverts,’ he
declared. ‘This is a Christian nation. To put up with
perversion like that, you’re willing to put up with
anything. They’ve spread their disease worldwide….’
he said, adding ‘I will do everything I can to keep
them out of Springdale, including enforcing the
sodomy law.’ The candidate then promised to post
a sign at the city limits saying, ‘No fags in
Springdale.’ Another sign he’d like to see would
read, ‘Welcome to Springdale: Home of God-
fearing, armed Christian citizens.’ Hill believes that
with an armed citizenry and the creation of a
voluntary militia, the police force could be cut in
half at a cost savings.”

About Town: Springdale
State: AR

Message: I moved to Springdale in 1984 and it was common to hear classmates referring to a sign that posted, “Nigger don’t let the sun set on your ass”. It was posted at both ends of town, ‘north’ and ‘south’. The one on the north end was placed at the Arkansas Missouri Railroad over pass on 71 business. I never heard where the other was located. The kids from Springdale would drive to Fayetteville to yell obsentities at African Americans. They would call the target neighborhood, “Nigger holler”, which was located just below the square in Fayetteville. The signs in Springdale were removed somewhere in the early 70’s. Blacks were not treated well in this town until the early nineties and are still a very small minority in Springdale. In fact, I didn’t notice any blacks in Springdale until after a growth explosion. Hispanics and Illegal aliens flooded the NWA area. I found the acceptance of Latinos to be ironic with the black predudices.