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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.

Towanda

Illinois

Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Confirmed Sundown Town?
Probable
Was there an ordinance?
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
Sign?
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
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 856
2000 493 486 2
2010 480 0
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Violent Expulsion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

During the early 1970’s a black family was expulsed in fear due to Klan-like activity. There are rumors of a sundown sign, but no confirmation.

***

In 1977, an African American ISU graduate student moved to Towanda. A cross was burned in his yard less than an week after he moved in. Two days later his car was burned. He moved out of town shortly after. Two white men were charged with arson for the crime. One plead guilty, and the other was acquitted because the victim did not show up to testify. The town council issued an official apology to the African American victim on behalf of Towanda, and said that the actions of a few individuals did not reflect the sentiment of the town. It assured people that anyone is welcome to live in Towanda.