Me'Shell Baylor MSHS
5 min readFeb 18, 2024

The Existence Of Sundown Towns Today!

“A sundown town is not just a place where something racist happened. It is an entire community (or even county) that for decades was “all white” on purpose. “James Lowen

When growing up as a little black girl in Lynwood California whose parents came from the south there was always a quote, more of a creed that all black parents would say to children which is “Be in the house before the street lights come on”. This term was something that I even say today to my children it was as if it was a warning signal that if you are not in when darkness falls and those street lights glare the boogeyman would be lurking around the corner. When sitting down with elders in my community I later learned that the phrase originated from the south and was illustrated to speak of being in areas where people of color should not be at night. Sundown towns are described as all white territories, country downs where white supremacy resided over excluding people of color. Sundown towns practiced racial segregation, discrimination, and even personal injustice toward black people.

When conversing with my eldest uncle on my father’s reason to leave Louisiana I was aware that he was wandering out late at night from a party and was stopped and harassed by a white police officer. What I didn’t expect was the remark that “he was a black man out late in sundown town and for his punishment, they inflicted pain on him causing him to lose his hearing in his left ear and setting his beard on fire”.My uncle implied my father was lucky to live and he sent him to California my father never returned to Louisiana. Sundown towns are located in areas of the south such as parts of Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Mississippi, and so forth. Many black folks dating back from 1938–1963 would create a book called the Negro Green Book. This book served as a navigation guide for black travelers to comprehend what parts of particular areas they should avoid when traveling. The book still serves to some as a beacon of light for those still traveling in specific cities, towns, and counties even though certain politicians state “America is not racist”. The Green Book and Sundowns Town still prove that crimes against people of color still exist and if you are not out of those areas you can turn up dead or missing.

Me'Shell Baylor MSHS

Author of I’m A Little Big Brother 2016 editor’s choice LA Parent Magazine for Entering the World of Oz with Justin Author of poem To All the mothers!