The explosive story of racial exclusion in the north, from the American Book Award-winning author of Lies My Teacher Told Me.
'Whites have nicknames for many sundown towns: from "Colonial Whites" for Colonial Heights, near Richmond, Virginia, across the country to "Lily White Lynwood" outside of Los Angeles.' from Sundown Towns
Highland Park, Texas, home to both George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, did not have a home-owning black family until 2003
Vienna, Illinois, expelled its black community in 1954, burning their homes and sending them fleeing
Eleven Presidents and recent presidential candidates come from sundown towns, including McKinley, Truman, Dewey, JFK, and George W. Bush
Signature American edibles that originated in sundown towns include Spam, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, and Heath bars
Don't let the sun go down on you in this town." We equate these words with the Jim Crow South but in a sweeping analysis of American residential patterns, award-winning and bestselling historian James W. Loewen demonstrates that strict racial exclusion was the norm in American towns and villages from sea to shining sea for much of the twentieth century.
Weaving history, personal narrative, and hard-nosed analysis, Loewen shows that the sundown town was and is an American institution with a powerful and disturbing history of its own, told here for the first time. In Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, sundown towns were created in waves of violence in the early decades of the twentieth century, and maintained well into the contemporary era.Sundown Towns
redraws the map of race relations, extending the lines of racial oppression through the backyard of millions of Americans and lobbing an intellectual hand grenade into the debates over race and racism today. 20 black-and-white photographs.
"Admirably thorough and extensively footnoted....As the first comprehensive history of sundown towns ever written, this book is sure to become a landmark in several fields...."
Publishers Weekly, 07/25/2005
"[A]n account that challenges modern beliefs about race and racism."
Booklist, September, 2005