Home Explainers Sundown Towns: How Lovecraft Country Explored The Dark Reality Of The Past

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Sundown Towns: How Lovecraft Country Explored The Dark Reality Of The Past

Lovecraft Country explores one very disturbing part of the American history – Sundown Towns. There were such towns in America that used racial segregation and manipulative town laws made by the all-white committee to exclude black people and other minorities. These towns force minorities to leave town before Sundown. That’s a horrifying, horrifying thing, yet it has not seized to exist.

The term came from signs posted that colored had to leave town by Sundown. The practice was not restricted to the southern states (usually considered to have the concentration of such things). At least until the early 1960s. Northern states could be nearly as inhospitable to black travelers as states like Alabama or Georgia.

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How are sundown towns described  in Lovecraft Country:

What started as malpractice of the power vested in the local authorities after the end of the American Reconstruction era turned into a wide cultural thing. Towns used intimidation and scare tactics to keep people of color at bay. Many recorded incidences are like, for example, Real Estate agents refusing and downright being hostile to colored people when they wanted to settle in that town. And these things are still prevalent today. 

Lovecraft Country turns this already frightening history into panic inducing drama, when Atticus and co. are stopped by a white sheriff. Ordered by the officer to leave the county within the next six minutes, or else! This introduces a painful historical truth: Sundown towns aren’t easy to leave.

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Also read: Lovecraft Country Episode 1: Know The Show!

There is of course a blend of Horror in the show while describing such atrocities. That is a nod at H.P. Lovecraft who was a racist fiction writer working in the horror genre. Lovecraft was one of those who used to peddle the idea of Sundown Towns hence Atticus’s uncle says it like it is while refereeing to those parts of USA – Lovecraft country.

The 2018 academy award movie “Greenbook” was also based on one such incidence. When Don Shirley, a black musician, is held back by the police for not abiding the laws of the so-called Green Book. Such books were released widespread during the 1930s to 1960s. It’s a dreadful thing to discuss yet important. Sundown Towns are a reality and should not have been one. See more history on Wikipedia.

 

Ayush Joshi
Ayush is a cinema admirer and apart from that loves all kinds of different stories. He is currently pursuing Engineering and would love to someday show the world his stories.

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