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October 25, 2005


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Once a town is all white, the problem is hard to solve. As suggested, attention by authors and newspapers might attract racists, keep out African-Americans even more surely (if that is possible), and - more interesting perhaps - signal relatively progressive whites to stay away, which then makes the ongoing segregation even more likely.

It is interesting where we encourage such information/shaming. Schools regularly report demographic information. Restaurants do not. Sometimes I am in a restaurant and I look around and see a greater-than-average minority customer population, and sometimes I am struck by the all-white clientele. I have never seen a restaurant critic comment on this, but more information would surely lead to some more sorting. Without information, each customer, or prospective customer who looks in the window is unsure whether the small sample that is viewed is reliable. In all these cases, I suspect that African-American are more likely to observe and to be well-informed, while many members of the majority remain ignorant and do not spread information. Thes may be examples of where reasonable people could disagree as to whether we would prefer more or less race consciousness.


Read Shelby Steele's "White Guilt", and you will understand both sides of this important yet misunderstood issue


Hey - Just came from the official James Loewen site, and am here because I am trying to contact the guy.
I read his book "Lies My History Teacher Told Me" and have been a fan since, but I just gandered at the list of "Possible Sundown Towns" in Wisconsin. Having gronw up in Hartford, WI, and knowing many many people there (most, in fact, it's a small town) I was not just surprised but actually deeply shocked and saddened that he would print such an irresponsible list in a public place. I can name at least 5 towns, starting with Hartford, West Bend, Port Washington, Cedarburg, and Mount Horeb - Heck, Beaver Dam has a hip-hop club and has for yeeeeears - that do not belong anywhere near that list.
I agree that Wisconsin and many of those towns have their fair share of racists, but if that is the basis for calling someplace a "Sundown Town", than the term is useless.

It looks to me like someone needs to write about "Lies James Loewen Told Me".

Irresponsible history comes from all quarters.....


the book gives an account of what life was likee back in the day. He even goes on to say that the towns named are not still or may no longer be that way. I agree that the list should not have been compiled in such a way to cause people to be biased against them, but in the attempt to get some truths (whether full or part) was valiant

kate L. Harrison

I was a history major and anthropology major in college. I took several courses focusing on African-American history, and also took several courses concentrating on Native American culture and the sad genocidal history in this country. Having read through Sundown Towns, I was still shocked and stunned by the book. Mostly, I was angered that this information was and still is not taught, acknowledged, or discussed in schools, media, or our society in general. Along as we will not entertain or address our continuing racism, it will continue to be a fatal flaw in America and all it's institutions. In the end, we are all loosers.

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