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Proviso Probe

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

ETHNICITY, Sundown Towns and eliminationism

Dave Neiwert of Orcinus has a ten-part series on eliminationism in America.
What, really, is eliminationism?

It's a fairly self-explanatory term: it describes a kind of politics and culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas for the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through complete suppression, exile and ejection, or extermination.

Part VII discusses "Sundown Towns". It is based heavily on Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James W. Loewen.

It's a long entry for a blog. Here are some of the points that jumped out at me.

1. American communities outside of the South didn't develop with a natural lack of Blacks. These communities enforced "Whites" only policies as a matter of law or organized ethnic violence.
2. Sundown towns existed across the country. Most suburbs started as sundown towns.
3. From 1865 to 1890 Republican communities tended to welcome Blacks and consider it fulfilling Lincoln's vision and patriotic for their communities to be open to Blacks.
4. From 1890 to 1930 "White" America treated Blacks poorly. The Republican Party gave up advocating for Blacks because Democrats wore them down by calling them "nigger lovers".
5. "White" southerners methodically took away Black rights. Republicans and Blacks were removed from office by violence and chicanery. In 1896 the Supreme Court decided Plessy v. Ferguson which made segregation legal. In 1898 President McKinley allowed rioters to remove the mayor of Wilmington, NC and all Republican office holders.
6. Employment discrimination was worse for Blacks in the North than the South during this period (1890 to 1930). And Blacks were perceived as being the problem.
7. In the West the Chinese were subjected to ethnic riots, as Blacks were in communities across the country.
8. One of the large communities that expelled Black through ethnic riots was Springfield, IL. Sundown towns were unusually popular in Illinois; Loewen reports that he was able to identify 475 of them. They also enjoyed great popularity in states like Indiana and Oklahoma.
9. In 1921 a two-day assault that included bombings destroyed 35 city blocks and killed 100-300 Blacks. The prosperous Black community was destroyed.
10. After 1916 the Ku Klux Klan became a vehicle for organizing anti-Black "Whites". The Klan wielded considerable political power and controlled the state governments in Tennessee, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
11. There were individual exceptions in sundown towns. A woman in the Klan said, "You get several of them together and they become niggers. Individually, they're fine people."
12. The one African-American or one family that was allowed to stay in a sundown town was cited to prove the community wasn't racist.
13. Neiwert ties sundown towns to modern politics by discussing how the GOP appeals to the sensibilities of sundown towns without explicitly playing the race card. He also discusses the similarities between Blacks speaking for Republicans and the token Black living in a sundown town.

Neiwert writes insightful stuff on ethnicity. I recommend periodically checking his blog.


  • Sounds exactly like the kind of politics that Nyberg/Yarbrough/Pasquale/Bruno pursue.

    By Anonymous wondering, at 8:46 PM, January 16, 2007  

  • Can you explain your critique of me?

    Are you saying I'm an eliminationist or a segregationist?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 8:08 AM, January 17, 2007  

  • loewen's book is good, readable, and available at the chicago public library.
    wondering should decode the message above. what does it mean? could wondering describe "the kind of politics"?

    By Blogger Pastor Nancy, at 9:38 AM, January 17, 2007  

  • I find it telling that Nyberg isn't denying that he's allied with disbarred attorney Anthony Bruno and civil rights violator Frank Pasquale. Where are your campaign funds coming from, Carl?

    By Anonymous wondering2, at 7:12 AM, January 18, 2007  

  • First, I've never met Anthony Bruno. I don't think I've ever been in the same place at the same time.

    Frank Pasquale and I have been at large events together. But no one has introduced us.

    I have long criticized the rise in street drug dealing in Bellwood while Pasquale has been village president.

    Do you even have a conjecture about how I would help Bruno or Pasquale?

    Or is this just an attempt to smear me?

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 9:09 AM, January 18, 2007  

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