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Basic Information
Type of Place
Metro Area?
Politics c. 1860?
Unions, Organized Labor?

Sundown Town Status
Confirmed Sundown Town?
Year of Greatest Interest
Was there an ordinance?
Sign?
Still Sundown?

Census Information
TotalWhiteBlackAsianNativeHispanicOtherBHshld
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Comments
Iowa was the only northern state to ratify black suffrage before the 15th Ammendment. Although Iowa fought with the Union in the Civil War, some towns had significant Copperhead populations. Many towns along the Missouri border, in particular, had been founded by pro-slavery whites. "In the half decade of the sixties following the Civil War and during the seventies the organized activities and individual happenings within the Negro group still found a place in the newspapers, but as the emotions of the Civil War era cooled and Negroes gradually took their place in the everyday life of northern communities, the special interest and the ready sympathy of earlier days waned; as the Negro population increased, the number of newspaper items devoted to their affairs decreased... By the late eighties and certainly in the nineties the infrequent reports concerning Negroes are nearly always found on the page devoted to crimes - theivery, murder, rape. If colored groups engaged in worthwhile educative or social projects - and certainly they did - newspaper readers were not often apprised of it. Honors bestowed upon a member of the Negro group passed by unnoticed. When President Harrison appointed an Iowa Negro minister to Liberia in 1890, the press in the State ignored it; when he died at his post a few months later, no notices appeared." - "The Negro in Iowa", Leola Bergmann, Iowa Journal of History and Politics, 1948 Between 1880 and 1930, coal mining was a significant part of the Iowa economy. Coal mining towns differed considerably in their acceptance of black residents and coal workers, with some towns becoming sundown and others developing a vibrant black community. Coal reserves began declining in the 1920s and the industry was completely wiped out by the 1930s. Iowa's peak Ku Klux Klan membership in the 1920s was 350,031, according to Arwin Smallwood's Atlas of African-American History and Politics. "The thesis that active white racism drove people out you'll look hard for evidence of that in Iowa. But as far as not selling homes to blacks, restrictive covenants, railroad unions that didn't hire blacks that was real." - Hal Chase, History Professor at Des Moines Area Community College, quoted in "Racism Lurking at Sundown", Des Moines Register, 27 February 2006 As of the 2000 census, about one quarter of Iowa's 99 counties had less than 15 black residents.
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