Home » Illinois » Tuscola

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
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
1900 2498 70
1920 2564 55
1930 2568 26
1950 2960 4
1970 3917 2
1990 4155
2000 4448 4364 14
2010 4480 17 3

Method of Exclusion

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


I lived in Tuscola, Ill. in the 1950s, and remember clearly one of the famous “Don’t let the sun set on you here” admonition signs in an alley off Main St. by the Drug Store. I don’t know if Tuscola was considered a Sundown Town at that time, or not, but it was surely lily white at the time. I also remember hearing that area towns of Arcola, Monticello, and Villa Grove were ‘sundown towns'(2004)
The one I remember was posted in the alley, on the wall of a building, right at the alley entrance, by the Drug Store. (2004)

Between 1922 and 1924, the town had a pretty large KKK presence. In 1924, the Klan held a parade in the town, and participants ranged in the thousands. The Tuscola Journal has several articles during this time that chronicle the Klan’s activities, most of which seem to have been directed against immigrants and Catholics.

A publication by the county’s historical society chronicled the lives of several African Americans in the town between 1890 and 1940. The article highlighted the town’s tolerance at the time. However, most of the African Americans chronicled seem to have moved out of Tuscola (most of them died in nearby towns of Danville and Champaign, but were buried in Tuscola)