Sundown Towns

Geographic Map of Historical Sundown Towns,
Loewen et al.,. Hosted by Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS.

For my dissertation, I am studying sundown towns – communities in the U.S. that between roughly 1890 and 1968 were intentionally exclusionary and violent against African Americans. They were often marked by signs that were posted at their municipal boundaries that warned African Americans to not be found in the area after dark, “or else”. Sundown towns were most prevalent in the Midwest, as the map above shows. This map relies on the primary data source of tracked sundown towns, developed by Dr. James Loewen. Research on this important topic has been growing in recent years.

If you’d like to learn more about sundown towns, I recommend you check out Loewen’s website. Dr. Loewen’s incredible work on this topic inspired me to explore it further. His passing in 2021 was a great loss for the research community. I’m hoping to build on his work by quantifying how exclusionary sundown policies affect various outcomes over time, especially economic growth, for towns who employed them relative to those that did not. Stay tuned for my research developments in this area.

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