The following contains spoilers for Episode 1 of HBOs Lovecraft Land
- Lovecraft Land recently premiered on HBO.
- The series shows a scene in which the leading black protagonists have to leave a city before sunset or before the execution.
- The “sunset city” was a real phenomenon seen in both the south and north during the Jim Crow era and after.
Before running from monster Monster, Lovecraft LandThe trio of protagonists – Atticus (Jonathan Majors), Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) and Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) ̵
The racist provision makes for the pilot’s most intense sequence, and it could have been one of the least fictional moments of the episode.
“Sunset Cities” were a real phenomenon in the United States from 1890 through the years after Jim Crow, as city history and housing policies continued to discourage black residents.
Sociologist James W. Loewen has spent years researching the phenomena – using the term “all-whites” “on purpose” to highlight the persistent unnatural demographics of some US cities; They were built specifically for whites.
Loewen notes that this practice was actually most common in the northern states, and he counted 502 sunset cities in Illinois alone. (Loewen has criticized the media representation of sunset cities, noting the disproportionate portrayal of southern cities.) In fact, there are thousands of former “sunset cities” (find them here in the database), some of which continue to struggle with their history in the wake the renewed attention drawn by protests against Black Lives Matter. (Loewen also notes that there are cities with a sunset story continue to ensure all white populations.)
How violently were these communities enforced? In Loewen’s book Sunset citieshe tells of a white family from Alabama who told them to return to the south after moving to an Indiana sunset town and fear that their black maid might be killed.
In Martinsville, Indiana, a 21-year-old black woman, Carol Jenkins, was stabbed to death while selling encyclopedias after dark. That was 1968. Loewen believed that sunset cities peaked in 1970, years after Jim Crow.
Sunset cities also excluded other non-whites, including Native Americans, Mexicans, and Asians. Some cities also excluded Jews.
in the Lovecraft countryThe town of Ardham (similar to “Arkham” in the HP Lovecraft lore) may be a fictional Massachusetts location with fictional enemy monsters, but the sunset horror was very real. And also the monsters that roamed about those nights.
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