Do sundown towns still exist? Is the question filmmaker and activist Keith Beauchamp has set out to answer during his latest installment of “The Injustice Files” on Investigation Discovery.
Sundown towns were American towns that prevented Black people from living or visiting there after dusk. This exclusionary practice was borne out of the north where many African Americans made their living by working as domestic servants in white homes and towns. Nightly curfews were implemented to “encourage” domestic workers to leave the town after their daytime shifts ended. The phenomenon of sundown towns was the impetus for Harlem civil rights activist Victor Green to write the Negro Motorist Green-Book, which detailed safe places for Black travelers to rest and eat without fear of harassment, threats, or death, in 1936. But with the 1968 Fair Housing Act, sundown towns became illegal — on paper. But the practice may still continue …
In 2014 for “The Injustice Files,” filmmaker Beauchamp travels cross-country to three historically sundown towns in Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. He investigates the death of Carol Jenkins in 1968, the exclusion of Dr. David Hoxie from an Ohio town in 2004, and the banishment of African Americans from an Illinois town in 1954.
“The Injustice Files: Sundown Towns” airs February 24 at 8 p.m. EST on Investigation Discovery. Check out the trailer below:
[Image: Investigation Discovery]