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Showing North Tonawanda in NY...

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

Sundown Town Status
Confirmed Sundown Town?Surely
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
19009,069 0
1960: 34,757 3

Tell Us More About This Town
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Method of Exclusion
Private Bad Behavior;Reputation;Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s).

Group(s) Excluded

Email from a former Resident: "The sundown story I grew up hearing was that at sometime in the past a white NT woman was molested by a Black man. There was a big furor over this; as a result the NT City Council passed an ordinance requiring all Blacks to be out of town by the blowing of the eight o%u2019clock whistle at the city%u2019s water works" "Tonawanda, the first stop outside of Buffalo, was like Ducktown, TN, in that it allowed no Negro to live there." (from James A. Atkins, The Age of Jim Crow (NY: Vantage, 1964), 138.) There was one black family in North Tonawanda when I was growing up [1960s?]. They were rich, light-skinned, and their daughter had a white boy friend. Another black family moved in. Teachers turned on their son, who wouldn't take shit. "The nicest word I learned was 'colored.' 'Nigger' was the typical term." "I learned to hold my breath when blacks walked by because I was taught they smell bad." "Whenever a neighbor would get pissed off at another neighbor, they'd yell, 'I'm gonna sell my house to a god-damned nigger.'" I remember my [older relative] watching Martin Luther King and sneer, "Oh, you have a dream..." "George Wallace was so popular in my town. And this was a Democratic union town!" People from Tonawanda ask me, "How do you live with all those niggers down there?" "I reply, 'I like having sex with them.'" Former North Tonawanda Resident: "I grew up in North Tonawanda (between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, the terminus of the Erie Canal), and there were always rumors that Blacks were kept out of that town in the 19th century, but there was also a local story about "Black Hannah," who supposedly lived in the woods near us." Email: "My Great Grandfather owned a construction company in North Tonawanda, NY (just north of Buffalo) during the early-ish 1900's and he had in his employ a large number of blacks. Every night he had to bus them to the edge of town and every morning he had to bus them back. Pissed him off, I guess. He tried to get the law changed, but no luck. It wasn't until he was long gone that it was finally was corrected."
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