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Examining the history and legacy of 'sundown towns' in Connecticut

The sunsetting in an orange colored sky behind a silhouette of trees.
Luca Bruno

For decades, there were cities and towns that were all-white on purpose. These communities are known as "sundown towns." Because this practice was both formal and informal, researchers put together a database of these laws, customs and firsthand accounts, under the leadership of the late sociologist and civil rights champion James Loewen.

At the peak of the exclusionary practice in 1970, an estimated 10,000 communities across the U.S. kept out African-Americans through "force, law, or custom." Many sundown suburbs also excluded Jewish and Chinese Americans, and other minority groups.

There are 40 towns listed as possible or probable past sundown towns in Connecticut. This hour, we hear about this history and what it can tell us. You can add to this research too.


  • Dr. Stephen Berrey: Assistant Professor of American Culture and History, University of Michigan
  • Logan Jaffe: Reporter, ProPublica
  • Paul Saubestre: Volunteer Researcher, Hamden Historical Society

Cat Pastor contributed to this episode which originally aired November 27, 2023.

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.