City of South Pasadena Condemns History as a Sundown Town and Past Practices of Institutionalized Racism

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On February 2, 2022, City Council approved a resolution condemning the City’s history as a Sundown Town and past practices of institutionalized racism. The resolution not only acknowledges the City’s history as a Sundown Town, but also directs staff into the next steps to further promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity. See the attached press release for details:

Press Release - Sundown Town Resolution 7750

A sundown town is a town where only people of a certain ethnic, social, or religious group are allowed in the town after dark. The most infamous examples of sundown towns are probably the all-white towns that were scattered across the United States well through the 1970s.

Sundown towns, also known as sunset towns, gray towns, or sundowner towns, are all-white municipalities or neighborhoods in the United States that practice a form of racial segregation by excluding non-whites via some combination of discriminatory local laws, intimidation, or violence. Entire sundown counties and sundown suburbs were also created by the same process. 

The term came from signs posted that "colored people" had to leave town by sundown. The practice was not restricted to the southern states, as "at least until the early 1960s...northern states could be nearly as inhospitable to black travelers as states like Alabama or Georgia."

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