List of sundown towns in texas

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Between and , thousands of towns across the United States drove out their black populations or took steps to forbid African Americans from living in them. By , when sundown towns were at their peak, more than half of all incorporated communities outside the traditional South probably excluded African Americans, including probably more than a hundred towns in the northwestern two-thirds of Arkansas.

White residents of the traditional South rarely engaged in the practice; they kept African Americans down but hardly drove them out. Accordingly, no sundown town has yet been confirmed in the southeastern third of Arkansas that lies east of a line from Brightstar Miller County to Blytheville Mississippi County , and only three likely suspects have emerged. Entire counties went sundown, such as Boone , Clay , and Polk. Some multi-county areas also kept out African Americans. That line apparently continued northeast into the Missouri Bootheel and southwest to Lepanto Poinsett County , delineating more than 2, square miles.

Although there were not towns like these prior to the Civil War, precedents existed for the exclusion of free African Americans. As early as , Arkansas denied free blacks entry into the state, and in , Arkansas required such persons to leave the state by January 1, , or be sold into slavery. Moreover, in , the loyalist Arkansas faction passed a new state constitution that abolished slavery but excluded African Americans from moving into the state. However, that constitution never went into effect, and during Reconstruction, African Americans participated politically across the state.

In , every county had at least six African Americans, and only one had fewer than ten. Democrat Jeff Davis ran for Arkansas governor in , , and , and then for the U. Senate in ; his language grew more Negrophobic with each campaign. By , three Arkansas counties had no African Americans at all, and another eight had fewer than ten, all in the Arkansas Ozarks. By , six counties had no African Americans Baxter , Fulton , Polk, Searcy , Sharp , and Stone , seven more had one to three, and yet another county had six. All fourteen were probably sundown counties; eight have been confirmed.

Much of this area had been Unionist during the Civil War. Until , white residents had maintained fairly good relations with their small African-American populations, partly because African Americans and white non-Democrats were political allies. Then, election law changes and Democratic violence made interracial coalitions impractical. Now, it would not pay to be anything but a Democrat. Allied with this Democratic resurgence, a wave of neo-Confederate nationalism swept Arkansas: most Ozark county histories written after tell of the war exclusively from the Confederate point of view.

More than ever, it was in the interest of white populations to distance themselves from African Americans. Precisely in counties where residents had been Unionists, white residents now often seemed impelled to prove themselves ultra-Confederate and manifested the most robust anti-black fervor. Often, the expulsion of African Americans was forced. Harrison Boone County , for example, had been a reasonably peaceful biracial town in the early s.

Most fled without any belongings. Three or four wealthy white families sheltered servants who stayed on, but in , another mob tried to lynch a black prisoner. Fearing for their lives, most remaining African Americans left. Harrison remained a sundown town at least until Similarly, Mena Polk County had a small black population until February 20, , when a mentally impaired African American badly injured a twelve-year-old white girl.

A white mob then took him from jail, fractured his skull, shot him, and cut his throat. Some of these riots, in turn, spurred whites in nearby smaller towns to hold their own, thus provoking little waves of expulsions. The Boone County events probably led to ejections from neighboring counties. In the early s, William Pickens saw sundown s across the Ozarks. Sundown towns often allowed one or two African Americans to remain, even while posting s warning others not to stay the night.

In Harrison, for example, James Wilson met the mob at his door with a shotgun and protected his house servant, Alecta Smith. Several Arkansas counties and towns show a slowly diminishing of African Americans between and because they did not allow new black people in, and those who remained gradually died or left.

Sundown towns have shown astonishing tenacity. Sundown towns have achieved this stability by a variety of means. In Mena, African Americans did not even have to stop to get in trouble. I was along in a car which did this, once, and saw it done more than once. An undated newspaper clipping from Rogers Benton County , probably between and , tells of the terror that African Americans might encounter in sundown towns even during the day.

The group seized the Negro and began telling what they were going to do with him. Economic boycott has kept many African Americans out of sundown towns. No one will hire them. In , a choir from Southern Baptist College performed in Harrison. Despite being warned not to, Khan hired an African American to work at his motel in ; his transient clientele gave him a form of economic independence. Sundown towns continued to form in Arkansas as late as , when white residents of Sheridan Grant County rid themselves of their black neighbors in response to Brown v.

Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. He made his African-American employees an extraordinary offer: he would give them their homes and move them to Malvern Hot Spring County , twenty-five miles west, at no cost to them. If a family refused to move, he would evict them and burn down their home. The few other African Americans in Sheridan—preachers, independent business operators—suddenly found themselves without a clientele. They left, too. Afterward, Sheridan developed a reputation for aggressively anti-black behavior.

Some smaller communities in Arkansas may also have gotten rid of their African Americans after Brown. Hate groups have long been drawn to sundown towns. Harrison developed a large Ku Klux Klan KKK chapter that targeted striking railroad workers in the s, hanging one from a railroad bridge in and escorting the rest to the Missouri line.

KKK leaders still live in the Harrison area. Gerald L. Smith , a radio evangelist and leading anti-Semite in the s and s, moved his headquarters to Eureka Springs Carroll County partly because it was an all-white town. The Rogers Historical Museum has done an exemplary job of preserving an example of this suppression. Some Arkansas towns have long used their racial composition as a selling point to entice new residents.

For fifteen years after the Civil Rights Act, motels and restaurants in some sundown towns continued to exclude African Americans. Today, public accommodations are generally open. More than half of all Arkansas sundown towns have given up their exclusionary residential policies, mostly after Of fourteen suspected sundown counties in , eight showed at least three African American households in the census. The public schools of Sheridan desegregated around , when students from two small nearby biracial communities were included in the new consolidated high school.

In about , a black family moved into Sheridan, and before the decade ended, it was ed by three more—slow progress, but progress nevertheless. Some towns still merit the term, however. Smokey Crabtree, longtime resident of Fouke Miller County , wrote in The city put up an almost life sized chalk statue of a colored man at the city limit line, he had an iron bar in one hand and was pointing out of town with the other hand.

The city kept the statue painted and dressed, really taking good care of it. Back in those days colored people were run out of Fouke, one was even hung from a large oak tree…. Sundown reputations persist. The census showed two African-American households in Greenwood Sebastian County , however, so his information may be out of date. But such reputations can be self-maintaining. For additional information: Crabtree, Smokey. Too Close to the Mirror. Dougan, Michael. Little Rock: Rose Publishing Company, Froelich, Jacqueline. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, Froelich, Jacqueline, and David Zimmerman.

Harper, Kimberly. Jaspin, Elliot. New York: Basic Books, Jones, Catherine Ponder. Lancaster, Guy. Boyce and Winsome Chunnu. Louisville: University Press of Colorado, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, Loewen, James W. New York: The New Press, Morgan, Gordon D. Black Hillbillies of the Arkansas Ozarks. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Department of Sociology, Nichols, Cheryl Griffith. Pickens, William. Rea, Ralph R. Boone County and Its People. Robles, Josh. Honor or memorial gifts are an everlasting way to pay tribute to someone who has touched your life.

When a tribute gift is given the honoree will receive a letter acknowledging your generosity and a bookplate will be placed in a book. For more information, contact or calsfoundation cals. Read our Privacy Policy. Creating an gives you access to all these features. Go Back. Get Involved. Nominate an Entry Review Entries. Suggest a Topic or Author Suggest Media. Become a Volunteer Involve Students.

Other Online Encyclopedias Other Resources. Lesson Plans History Day Volunteers Donors. Entries All Entries Sundown Towns. Sundown Towns aka: Racial Cleansing Between and , thousands of towns across the United States drove out their black populations or took steps to forbid African Americans from living in them.

Research Collection. Rogers Historical Museum, Rogers, Arkansas. Shiloh Museum of Ozark History. Springdale, Arkansas. Type Place. Related Media African Americans in Bonanza. African Americans in Bonanza.

List of sundown towns in texas

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The Legacy Of Texas Sundown Towns: The County Where Time Stood Still