Home » Indiana » Whiting

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?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Moderately Strong

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
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
1920 10145 3
1930 10880 0
1960 8137 2
1970 7247 1
1980 5630 5
1990 5155 3
2000 5131 12

Method of Exclusion

  • Threat of Violence
  • Reputation

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Eastern European
  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


One Indiana resident recalls that as late as 1939 Whiting, Indiana, prohibited Blacks from living within its city limits (referencing WPA Writers’ Project, 1939, Calumet Region Historical Guide, pp. 51, 233.)

Oral history suggests that Whiting gets its name because only whites can live there.

According to Richard M. Dorson:
“Whiting, the smallest and least known of the four cities, is marked by its exclusion of blacks and predominance of Slovaks…” (_Land of the Millrats_ (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1981), 11.) He also suggests that Ogden Dunes was all-white owing to realtors as of c.1981 (p. 19).

Ed Zivich, Whiting resident quoted in Richard Dorson%u2019s _Land of the Millrats_, p. 34-35: “”Outsiders consider our community very prejudiced. I heard a story yesterday about this. After WWII blacks got into Whiting’s American Oil, Standard of Indiana, Lever Brothers, Federated Metals, but they could only stay in Whiting during the work day. For all the other plants they could catch a bus from the plant gates back to East Chicago, but for Federated Metals they had to walk through Hunkytown six blocks in downtown Whiting…. and get the next bus out of town %u2014 or else!””