Today must be the day for the Post to do their pieces required to demonstrate racial sensitivity.
When Signs Said ‘Get Out’
This story is about a professor who wrote a book on “Sundown” towns. That is towns that had a sign on the outskirts saying something like “Nigger, don’t let the sun set on you in this town” or something similar.
I’ve heard of these signs. There was supposed to be one up around Sweet Home, which is about twenty miles from here. Funny thing, that. I have found that this story has a lot of characteristics of what is termed an “Urban Legend”. The author admits that the signs are no longer there, and there is a lot of question about whether they actually existed or are the stuff of legend.
“Urban Legends” or “War Stories” as they were called in the military, have one main characteristic. They were never actually witnessed by whoever is doing the telling, but always attributed to a friend, an uncle, a First Sergeant who either was there or knew someone that was, but they are no longer around to verify the tale. It’s kind of amusing when you hear the same story for the umpteenth time that was supposed to have happened in an entirely different part of the world than the last three times you heard it.
James Loewen found that it was too hard to document the signs, so he decided to document towns that were “white by choice”. Not too difficult, Oregon was a State that was “white by choice”. There was an actual Constitutional ban on bringing blacks into Oregon until 1926. But it was not the same thing as the “Sundown Sign”. Nor is it particularly noteworthy.
There is racism in our past? Do tell.
There were also supposed to be signs about “Dogs and Sailors” in Norfolk (another Urban Legend) and the famous (or infamous) “Dogs and Chinese Not Allowed” in the Bund in Shanghai in the 1930’s. (which also has never been proven one way or the other)
That’s another thing that these all have in common, they existed in the 1920s and 1930s. Very few, if any can be convincingly documented after the 1960s. I know George Brosi says he saw such a sign in rural Kentucky in the 1990s, but I find it odd that he didn’t think it sufficiently noteworthy to take a picture of it, even after it stayed there for a year.
He says that blacks were systematically excluded from scores of counties throughout the U.S.. Well Duh!
Maybe the lynching had something to do with it? But he still doesn’t seem to be able to produce a sign.
“I would ask a librarian, ‘Do you have any photos of the sundown sign?’ ” he recalls. “And a typical reply would be, ‘Why on earth would we keep that ?’ “
But they did keep pictures of lynchings? There is no shortage of lynching pictures with dour faced white men and women gathered beneath the body of a hanging black man. Sometimes there were even children in the picture. But no one took or kept a picture of a “sundown” sign because it was too uncomfortable?
Sorry, I detect the strong odor of BS here.
But it’s a good story for the Post to publish. Just in case some White people had forgotten how awful they are and how much they owe Blacks.
That’s looking more and more like a debt that will always be owed. No matter how much is paid.