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Showing Wapakoneta in OH...

Basic Information
Type of PlaceIndependent City or Town
Metro Area?Independent City or Town
Politics c. 1860?Don't Know
Unions, Organized Labor?Don't Know

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 Not, Although Still Very Few Blacks

Census Information

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Testimony of an Ohioan: "I was raised in Lima, Ohio which has a fairly large Afro American population. Wapakoneta (which had no people of color then) is about 20 miles south of Lima. I had relatives who lived, worked, and shopped there. I lived in Lima from 1952-74 and then left the area ... I think my mother told me about Wapakoneta." Email excerpt from a Californian who visited Wapakoneta in 1975: "Some young man (I was all of 19 myself) gave me the small town tour and we went to the space museum and drove by Neil Armstrong's house. I do believe it was upon our return that he showed me the sign saying that they (the town) were going to have to get rid of it. The sign said something like "Any nigger caught here after the sun goes down, won't see the next sun rise". I asked my brother in law about it and he said it had been there his whole life (he was only in his 20's). He also told me lots of towns had signs like that. I was pretty shocked being from LA area and all. I didn't realize that that sort of prejudice was that far north. I was naive in thinking, at that time, that it was only a southern issue." Email testimony of a Lima resident: "Wapak (for short) is known as being NOTORIOUSLY racist in this area of Ohio. My Dad said they used to have a sundown sign. I heard rumors years ago about how the one of the few black families in town was basically scared away from sending their kids to Wapak schools. Their school athletic teams are The Redskins. My old school friend's brother was a victim of a racially motivated assault there. The people I have met that are from there and not racist have confirmed the racism of many of the residents. The demographics of a town of that size are way off. I think the tactic some people in the town use to keep minorities out is just overt racism." Email from 2014: "Yes, there was a sign. My friend was the only black person in the high school there back in the early to mid 90's. There were crosses burned in the yards of the people of color who moved there into the 1980's. The sign read "Don't let the sun set on your ass here nigger" and was there until the 1980's as well. It was on the east side of the overpass going over I-75." Email from 2016: "I have lived in Lima, Ohio my entire 40 years and everyone knows that Wapakoneta to this day is quite possibly the most racist town in Ohio! I grew up hearing about a sign that was in Wapakoneta that said "don't let the sun set on your black ass!" I believe that sign was privately owned, but the owner was never made to remove it. I would have to say that to this day, Wapakoneta is still a Sundown Town. Not one of my black friends are willing to go to Wapakoneta."
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