Another reason to leave your Sundown Town tonight

Categories: Books
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Sociologist, historian, and author James Loewen will speak at the U of M's Coffman Memorial Union Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. The event is free. The author of the critically acclaimed Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your High School History Textbook Got Wrong, released his most-recent book, Sundown Towns, about the creation of whites-only communities, in October. Lest anyone forget that those kinds of ordinances didn't just happen below the Mason-Dixon line, the 500-plus-page tome about the hidden history of racism reveals Edina, Minnesota's origins were as a segregated town whose antiquated rules were enforced well into the 1960s. A typical restrictive covenant for Edina property as outlined on page 116 of Loewen's book:
"No lot shall ever be sold, conveyed, leased, or rented to any person other than one of the white or Caucasian race, nor shall any lot ever be used or occupied by any person other than one of the white or Caucasian race, except such as may be serving as domestics for the owner or tenant of said lot, while said owner or tenant is residing thereon. All restrictions, except those in paragraph 8 (racial exclusion), shall terminate on January 1, 1964."

In other words, Loewen notes, the restriction to the "white or Caucasian race" was to continue forever. Today, Edina's African-American population hovers around one percent.

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