Home » Illinois » Westfield

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.

Westfield

Illinois

Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
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 676
2000 678 664 3
2010
2020

Method of Exclusion

  • Violence Towards Newcomers
  • Other

Main Ethnic Group(s)

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black

Comments

email 1/11/08:

Before I began attending college, I had heard stories that there used to be a law on the books that barred black people from being in Westfield after dark. I was also told a story by a local resident in the village. He said that when he was a small boy in the early 1960’s, a black family had moved to our town and was met with swift racial aggression in the form of cross burnings, which the whole town came out to witness, and or, participate in. The family moved out the next morning, end of story. After I started reading your book, and confirmed that my own town shared in this racist history, I became interested to know more about it.

I started asking around about the laws and the story I was told, and I was met with either denial, or ignorance. The gentleman who told me the story is constantly discredited because he has a history as a drug addict and no one else has ever heard his story before. In asking around about our town’s racist history, I’ve heard additional rumors that prevalent members of our village belonged to a KKK group that met in a field just East of town during the 1970’s. I find this easy to believe because I have noted several members of my community sporting Confederate flags from their vehicles, or other property. I contacted the village’s superintendent to see if he would be of any help. He did admit that the law was on the books, until it was changed in the 1970’s, but he said that the old town records were stolen during the 1980’s.