Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sundown towns in NE Illinois 1950s

The Historical Society has an interesting first-person reminiscence by Jeremy Bangs of the white racist custom of "sundown towns" as manifested in northeastern Illinois in the 1950s. This, too, was part of our ancestors' world.

I think I grew up in such a town. At least one of the "tough" kids in the neighborhood made some such statement, but then he was an admirer of Hitler and may have just been stating his opinion. I was too young and naive to have one -- kids can take amazing things for granted -- and I have never investigated the facts of the case.


Lois said...

How might one find out if our town was a "sundown town"? I recall when I was in junior high there was a proposed factory to be built outside of town. The mother of a friend of mine was glad it didn't happen because it would bring minorities in to town.

Harold said...

I'm not sure, Lois. If it was a matter of law, there would be a record. I would check out James Loewen's book on the subject and go from there.