Sundown Towns: Background information when reading Calling Me Home

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Calling Me Home

by Julie Kibler

Calling Me Home
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2013, 336 pages
    Jan 2014, 352 pages

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Beyond the Book:
Sundown Towns

Don't let the sun set on YOU.

	Jim NeubeckerThis is typical wording on a sign at the edge of what was called a "sundown town", which gained its name because these towns required people of color to leave their perimeters – not surprisingly – by sundown. These towns, found throughout the USA not just in the South, were explicitly all-white towns. Sometimes the segregation was created by actual town policy, sometimes through restrictive covenants created and maintained by real estate brokers, and sometimes by sheer intimidation from local town employees like police officers and even regular citizens. It is not clear how many of these towns existed but an estimate cites that at one point there were several thousand across the United States, and the state of Illinois had the most within its borders.

Since the Civil Rights Act of 1968, sundown towns cannot officially exist. However, while the edge of town signs are no longer posted, it's difficult to know what sort of discrimination might ...

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