Sunday, February 26, 2006


A Washington Post story on a book called Sundown Towns, by James Loewen, describes the practice of certain towns, usually suburbs, of prohibiting black people from being visible after nightfall--often giving them warning with tersely worded, racist roadsigns.

What interests me here is the way the few quoted period documents frame the exclusionary racism:
In 1922, when college students in Norman, Okla., hired a black jazz band to play at a dance one night, a white mob carrying guns and nooses attacked the dance hall.

"Negroes are occasionally seen on the streets of Norman in the daytime, but the 'rule' that they leave at night is strictly enforced," the Oklahoma City Black Dispatch, a black newspaper, reported, and noted, "Several other Oklahoma towns have similar customs."
Rule is put in quotes by the black newspaper, but not custom.

[via Gary Farber, who posts more excerpts.]


Post a Comment

<< Home