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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.

Sunnyvale

Texas

Basic Information

Type of Place
Suburb
Metro Area
East Texas
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Surely
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Sign?
Don’t Know
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
1860
1870
1880
1890
1900
1910
1920
1930
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990 2228 16
2000 2693 70 18
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Zoning

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

“Developed just after World War II, Sunnyvale
incorporated in 1953, in part to resist efforts to locate
low income housing outside the city of Dallas. While
local elected officials say that the one acre minimum
lot requirement was enacted to maintain Sunnyvale%u2019s
‘rural character,’ the zoning ordinance and a 1971
town council resolution banning apartments have
effectively kept the town 94% white.
“The court challenge began in 1987 when Mary
Dews, an African American woman living in Dallas
tried to use her Section 8 certificate in Sunnyvale, and
was unable to find a unit. She joined with developers
who had been denied permits to build low income
housing. The court found that the town was guilty of
perpetuating segregation and had violated the Fair
Housing Act in two ways. First, it held that the one
acre minimum and 1971 resolution had the effect of
limiting housing choice for African Americans, a
disproportionate number of whom could not afford
single family homes in Sunnyvale. Second, the court
found evidence of intentional discrimination in the
statements of town officials, one of whom told a
developer that he preferred one acre lots because ‘it
keeps the [blacks] out.’ The court found that
“preservation of rural character” was not a legitimate
government interest that could justify the
discrimination.”