Home » Michigan » Warren

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
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
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
1990 144,864 1,047
2000 138,207 3,697
2010 134,056 19,712

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


In 1970, Warren had just 28 non-white families, out of approximately 180,000 total population. 22 of these families lived in a military installation. In the same year, Warren voters rejected $2.8 million in urban renewal grants that would have required to city to adopt integration policies.

“When a Warren high school put up new basketball hoops here and blacks began coming north to use them, the district’s response was to take the rims down. The school said neighborhood complaints about noise were the reason, but many suspected subtle racism… Whites who live in the area maintain they face complicated issues. Even if they harbor no racial animosity, they say they are hostage to the environment. Because area whites don’t want to live near blacks, the arrival of a single black family in their neighborhood means their property values will likely drop…”When black families do move out into the suburbs they often face unique challenges. Kenneth Mitchell, who is black… lives in a large home in the city of Sterling Heights, which is 91 percent white, with his wife and two young sons, ‘Overall it’s been wonderful.’ Mitchell moved back to the area three years ago after living in a Los Angeles suburb where ‘people lived where they wanted’ and race issues were largely nonexistent… ‘This is the most racially charged area I have ever seen,’ he says… One neighbor refuses to let his daughter play with Mitchell’s sons… ‘There is this thing that goes back years and years and years, that when you cross Eight Mile you’ve got to watch your back,’ he says.”
-“Along Detroit’s Eight Mile Road, a stark racial split”,
Christian Science Monitor, 15 November 2002

“I grew up in Warren, and was aware of the tax line, known around here as the ‘8 Mile line’, set up by Mayor Ted Bates to keep ‘those folks’ in Detroit out of Warren.”
-former resident of Warren

A coworker “had the misfortune of living in Warren, MI for a few years in the early 80s & remembers parents complaining to the school about an eastern Indian family who was a little too dark for their liking.”
-posted to the web, 2005

Email from a longtime resident in Jan, 2013: “I grew up and still live in Warren. My parents moved into a brand new subdivision in the 10 Mile and Ryan area in 1959, lured by the low interest rate offered to my father, a Korean War vet, the modern range style home, and a four-mile drive down Mound Road from my mother’s parents’ house in Detroit. As an eight-year-old, I remember listening to my parents and other neighbors express fear and panic during the 1967 Riot in Detroit, especially when rumors circulated that “‘they’ were approaching Eight Mile!” One neighbor got out a gun and sat on his porch to protect his home and family. My parents were afraid to go back into the City of Detroit during that time to see their parents and siblings. In the early 1970s or late 1960s, a black family, whom I believe may have been a military family, moved into a house on the corner of Blackmar and Ten Mile. Within a day or two, their house was set afire, and the family vacated the house.”

Email September 2011: “Ted Bates Warren MI Mayor. In the early 1970s, he led the city%u2019s fight against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which tried to force the city to develop low-income housing to desegregate the suburbs. Warren officials and residents loudly protested the plan.

When HUD Secretary George Romney, the former Michigan governor, came to Lincoln High School in the early 1970s to explain the federal government%u2019s stance, angry protesters began rocking his car, and the State Police was needed to help him get away.
Warren did have some bad reputation towards blacks who are moving over there in the past 20 years. There was a conspiracy involving former Mayor Mark Steenberg who allegedly beat up a black youth at some south Warren neighborhood. A black woman who bought a home in a Warren neighborhood north of 12 Mile Rd. had received racist graffiti all over her home. The black woman has sold her home and moved someplace else. A incident happen a 8 Mile Rd. on the Warren side involving a mentally disabled black youth and Warren Police. Warren Police made a routine traffic stop on a car driving on the Warren side of E. 8 Mile Rd. A group of black young adults were in the car. After the black motorist refused to give his driver license to the Warren Police officer, One mentally disabled black youth quickly got the car and ran across 8 Mile Rd. to a East Side Detroit ghettohood. The Warren Police officer is on pursuit, corner the black youth and use his taser gun to shock him down into the ground. He was killed instantly.”