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Showing Amity in AR...

Basic Information
Type of PlaceIndependent City or Town
Metro Area?Independent City or Town
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status
Confirmed Sundown Town?Probable
Year of Greatest Interest
Was there an ordinance?Don't Know
Sign?Don't Know
Still Sundown?Probably

Census Information

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Method of Exclusion
Threat of Violence

Main Ethnic Group(s).

Group(s) Excluded

In the early 1900s, a man named T.W. Rosborough "arranged to meet with civic leaders from the town of Amity, located... directly east of the timberlands that the company would buy. To these men he described his plans for building a lumber manufacturing plant, stating that he would like to buy land at Amity for the mill. The town would benefit from having mill workers who would spend their wages with the local merchants. "'We would rather you not locate here,' the town leaders told Rosborough. 'We do not want a sawmill. We won't sell you land to build a mill.' They did not want transient mill workers, nor did they want blacks. There were no black people in Amity, only a lingering hostility said to have stemmed from an incident in the past when a black person - or someone having Nero ancestry - had caused trouble there while masquerading as a white." So Rosborough built his mill and a town (Rosboro) four miles north of Amity. Whites in the area (Amity) threatened Rosborough's black workers. "Blacks were to work only at the mill, not in the logging operation, for loggers had to live in camps in the woods where blacks would be even more vulnerable to harm from neighboring whites. The first black emlooyees to arrive at Rosboro had to live in tents. Since threats kept circulating, Rosborough built a high board fence around them, with gates that could be locked against intruders, and employed trustworthy white men to stand guard over the compound at night. After a while the threats died down and the workmen and their families moved into the new houses in Rosboro's black neighborhood," Nigger Town. "One night, men on horses rode through Rosboro and dropped leaflets saying that the blacks were to get out, or they would get hurt. Rosborough promptly called the leaders of the black community into the lumber company office and handed them several rifles. If any outsider came into the Quarters to harm the blacks, he told them, they were to protect themselves. ('Old Man Rosborough didn't go for that, beatin' his niggers,' says a white who worked at Rosboro.) In time the furor died down, but the blacks long remembered what Rosborough had done for them. "Rosborough, however, remained a person of his own time; he never attempted to change the prevailing separation of the races. He did feel responsible for protecting his black employees, one reason being that he wanted the best sawmill men he could find, regardless of color... One Rosboro resident recalls, 'The niggers done most of the stacking of the lumber. Most of the work they done was drudgery work that white people wouldn't do.' That was true, but as a lumber journalist once explained, 'There has never been as precise a separation of jobs into "white man's job" and "Negro job" in the lumber industry as in many other industries.' Rosborough realized that employing blacks made economic sense, but he also liked black people."
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