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Glendale Has Long Been Known As A ‘Sundown Town’ For Black Residents. What Is The City Doing To Change That?




An Erickson Aircrane firefighting helicopter flies past a slightly smokey downtown Los Angeles skyline as it returns from picking water at an inner-city lake while fighting a wildfire in Glendale, California.
An Erickson Aircrane firefighting helicopter flies past a slightly smokey downtown Los Angeles skyline as it returns from picking water at an inner-city lake while fighting a wildfire in Glendale, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

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Glendale is one of around a hundred cities in California that was historically known as a “sundown town,” with formal or informal laws barring Black Americans from the city after sunset.

To address its history of racist exclusion, which has wide repercussions today, Glendale’s City Council released a resolution last month apologizing for its racism. While Glendale did not find any formal sundown laws in its review, the city did find evidence in other forms, including records of police escorting Black people and other people of color outside the city limits. While Glendale is the first city to draft a resolution of this kind, it is far from the only California city with a history of racist sundown practices. Arcadia, Bel Air, South Pasadena, Whittier and Cerritos are just a handful of the many sundown towns designated in California. 

Today on AirTalk, we’re discussing Glendale’s resolution as well as the legacy of sundown towns in California. We want to hear about your experiences. Comment below or give us a call at 866-893-5722.

Guests:

Daniel Brotman, councilmember for the City of Glendale

Tanita Harris-Ligons, founder of Black in Glendale and member of the Coalition for an Anti-Racist Glendale

James W. Loewen, professor emeritus of sociologiy at the University of Vermont and author of “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism” (Touchstone, 2006); he tweets @JamesWLoewen