Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Interactive Map of Sundown Towns

In the United States some neighborhoods and towns have traditionally managed to largely exclude non-white residents. These areas have managed to enforce racial segregation through either intimidation or discriminatory local laws, or a combination of both. These largely white municipalities are often known as sundown towns, so called because of the practice of posting signs ordering "colored people" to leave town by sundown.

The Sundown Towns interactive map uses the Sundown Towns Database to show the distribution and location of sundown towns across the United States. On the map towns are shown using different colors, which indicate the 'confirmation status' of each town shown (ranging from 'possible' to 'surely'). If you select a town on the map you can then view its entry in the Sundown Towns Database. This entry includes information on the methods that have been used to exclude black residents and census records showing the white, black, Asian and Hispanic populations in the town from 1860 to the present. 

The Sundown Towns Database does not claim to be a complete record of all sundown towns in the USA. In fact the database comes with a note which states that there are "too many sundown towns for us to have found them all". Which is why users are actively encouraged to submit information about towns not in the database and to submit comments on those towns which are in the database. 

You may also be interested in exploring interactive maps exploring the enduring legacy of Redlining Maps on the racial distribution of American towns and cities.

33 comments:

Tuomo Repetti said...

Longmont, CO, where I live, is listed in the database, but the entry for the town has no, zero, information, other than the comment that "Longmont, CO, has joined The Inclusive Communities Partnership of the National League of Cities" and the statement that Longmont is "surely not" still a sundown town.

I have no evidence either way, but if you're going to list a town in the database, I'd think you should have SOMETHING to go on.

Anonymous said...

Love the map concept. Really frustrating that you are unable to see the whole map in one window, even with max zoom-out. Also, can’t close or minimize the key, which covers a large block of the map at all times.

Anonymous said...

Agree the map is kind of worthless. I was surprised by the number of northern Wisconsin towns and cities listed. Seems the criteria was a small black population in past census assumes that is due to "sunset laws" but with no proof whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

The Klan was started in Indiana so no surprises with the distribution of red dots. However, ALL of the towns in Vermillion, Vigo (Terre Haute), and Parke counties should be on this map. Unfortunately, I grew up in this area.

Anonymous said...

Longmont definitely not a “sundown town” even though majority white and Hispanic. There is a restriction against spending the night in your car but that’s unrelated.

Anonymous said...

Your map link has an extra h at the beginning of the address, resulting in an error when you click on it.

Keir Clarke said...

@anonymous Thanks! Now fixed.

Anonymous said...

I don't think America is worth saving. Incorrigible people incapable of empathy or evolution.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, would like to start by saying I appreciate the concept. Safety is a priority and this is sadly, still needed.

The information surrounding upstate New York is slightly inaccurate. When you click “Albany,” it states “Albany, Pennsylvania.” Albany, New York has a higher black population, about 29% (https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/albany-ny-population). Schenectady and Troy are also decently populated for the region. The semiconductor industry has brought diversity there. Glens Falls, does NOT. If you could adjust that, it would prove safer for travelers.

Anonymous said...

Your map is complete horseshit, there is no accompanying documents or evidence to prove any of this. Yes there are racist areas but you should have to have something to prove this other then made up accusations.

Anonymous said...

Texarkana i hear is one couldnt even get gas there. Killeen and copperas cove are around ft hood while there is racism here there is so many people of different races that live here and retired here that info might need to be changed

Anonymous said...

i wonder where more black people are killed in chicago or in dupo ill?????

Anonymous said...

Worst map ever. A couple towns in upstate new york, including the town I live in, are listed. Nothing could be further than the "truth" found on this ridiculous map. It's good for a laugh but that's about it.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of manure. I looked at the one's listed near me and can tell you that it's all fabrication. Our local, county and state police would never tolerate that, and neither would our governor nor the people of our great state.

There are always going to be a few racists alive who will judge you by the color of your skin. That seems to be on the rise here in the past couple of years. But there aren't any "sundown" places, including the one's marked on the map near me, that I would tell someone to not visit because of the color of their skin. There are a bunch that I would recommend avoiding after dark, but that would be for anyone regardless of skin color due to high crime rates.

I did notice that California and Illinois were really really high on this list.

Anonymous said...

I don’t think Compton in Los Angeles is a sundown town

Anonymous said...

If I had a document for every racist experience towards me, I'd fill out at least a good half inch binder (I'm not black). More often than not, racism leaves no evidence, but the experience is communicated through word of mouth.

Anonymous said...

I live in Reynoldsburg, OH and it is NOT a sundown town. I know many black families who live here, and none of them ever mention racial incidents. In fact, the Columbus region is well known for its ethnic diversity. Please fix the dot on the map.

Anonymous said...

Klandianna

Anonymous said...

So stupid to publish this crap. It’s pure fiction. The truth is there’s not enough racism to suit some people so they make it up. They want to see racial tensions so they lie. Cf Jesse Smollett

Anonymous said...

This map is a joke! I’ve lived in many states all over the USA. I can tell you from clicking on the places I’ve lived- for one just because there’s not a lot of colored people living there does NOT mean it’s a sundown town! I think that articles and misinformation like this lead to more racism and ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Sorry not buying that this map is backed by any real data. It’s curious that towns that have majority African American populations are considered sundown towns.

Anonymous said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

I love all the obvious white (and racist) people coming in here telling Black people about our experience and that we need to provide proof as to why their beloved sundown town shouldn’t be on the list. Just own it. And the dog whistling over, “but Chicago!” is tired.

Thank you for the list! I’ll be bookmarking and avoiding all of these towns, and passing the info onto friends, family, and social media. They don’t deserve the economy.

Sorry for all the hate. Keep up the hard work!

Anonymous said...

This is the biggest lie that I have seen in a while. Why do so many people have this weird desire to act like a victim?

digitalsista said...

Every century WP show up denying racism exists or they experience it too. There are no laws based on your race. That's the proof. the laws and practices. Each of you denying it's not your town isn't experiencing it. you think you are hearing dinner bells & sirens when it's a long time relic of sundown towns. Signs are still posted. The green books exists because there were simply too many places BP could get beaten or lynched. American stopped counting lynchings in 1968 and it wasn't because they stopped happening.

And all the sidewinding typical tropes like using Jussie and Chicago are all tells that you know the truth. Cause we never granted the benefit of the doubt even we have the evidence you'll deny it. It's the American Way. And most of you can't even stand ten toes down on the reality of this country cause you want to remove history instead.

Keep up the good work!! I love mapping. It's a skill.

I did a thread for those saying there is no proof. There are many people admitting to it in the thread. https://twitter.com/digitalsista/status/1411762780718391296

Anonymous said...

It was, from its founding up until 1968. Racial covenants in the deeds. Things do change.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... were do more black get killed... were there are hundreds of thousand or fifty...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a better explanation of the data would help to understand it. If one came here from a link, they expected a recent map, not historical data. They expect factual data, not hearsay. Also, by “Sundown,” you are inferring that a town was racist because the population was mostly white. That (especially in the Northeast) has everything to do with immigration and climate, not racism. Trust me, I have lived in many states, and traveled to all, and know that racism exists. This is not helping. Show us up-to-date facts so something can be done.

Anonymous said...

Right?? Like you know all these people commenting “THIS ISNT TRUE” are deff white and have had no racist experience happen to them in their lives. But yes, let’s believe the white man- they have done so much GOOD for us so far.

Anonymous said...

As an Indigenous man, sometimes people mistake me for white or simply "forget". So it makes me wonder if others have been wrongly labeled. I think this in itself is a form of cultural erasure. We are people of colour too.. just like the light-skinned Spanish-speaking people. It's sad that because we speak English and may not be of the complexion that you see in an old Western movie, we aren't taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Well I was interested in this, but the town I grew up in Montana, is on this and it shouldn’t be. Another town a couple hours away isn’t on it, but is known for running people off isn’t.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why everyone is interpreting your town being on this map as it being a Sundown Town. James Loewen clearly set it up for us to do further investigation into our towns. He purposely listed towns with few Black people in past Census because he says that is a great starting point. He put it all out there for you including the steps you can take to confirm if it is true or not and fully contribute to the map. The map does not speak for itself, it is a community project, albeit a bit slow to update considering the loss of James Loewen.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's history and I like to learn.
In response to a comment, I think that the KKK originated in Pulaski TN. Nathan Bedford Forrest. I think even he got out when it got too violent. Not 100% sure..