Sundown Towns

A Hidden Dimension of American Racism

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, to ‘Lily White Lynwood’ outside of Los Angeles.” —from Sundown Towns

“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 author 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 then 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.

Books by James W. Loewen

Lies Across America
What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong

James W. Loewen

Lies My Teacher Told Me
Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

James W. Loewen

Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus
What Your History Books Got Wrong

James W. Loewen