Horror in the heartland: Finding America’s sundown towns is easier than you might think

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  • Published on June 8, 2022
  • Last Updated March 10, 2023
  • In Infographics

Sundown towns are not confined to one state or region; they are found in states across the nation. See how states compare to one another in this map.

Sundown towns are communities in which Black people were not welcome. These towns openly discriminated against Black residents and visitors, and violence was a common tactic. The name comes from signs that used to be posted telling minorities to be gone before the sun set for the day.

While this sounds like it might be a uniquely Southern phenomenon, it wasn’t; sundown towns aren’t endemic to just one region or state. Sundown towns may seem like relics of a bygone era, but they aren’t. They’re still with us.

They’re found in states all across the country. But one region — the Midwest — has the highest concentration, according to historical records..

Sundown Towns Across America Infographic
A heat map representation of the prevalence of sundown towns in each state.

This story was created by Detour, a journalism brand focused on the best stories in Black travel, in partnership with McClatchy’s The Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald. Detour’s approach to travel and storytelling seeks to tell previously under-reported or ignored narratives by shifting away from the customary routes framed in Eurocentrism. The detour team is made up of an A-list of award-winning journalists, writers, historians, photographers, illustrators and filmmakers.

This story was originally published June 08, 2022 9:00 AM.

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