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The Injustice File:  Sundown Towna

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Keith BeauchampBy Esther Callens

Investigation Discovery’s “The Injustice Files” has launched a deep exploration into America’s sundown towns. Filmmaker and host Keith Beauchamp has travelled cross country to some of the communities that excluded African Americans and other ethnic groups (Hispanics, Jewish, etc.) from residing or even being in town after sundown.  This all new Black History Month special is set to premiere in a one hour special on Monday February 24 at 8 p.m./7c.
The prevalence of these sundown towns was so dominant that Victor H. Green (Harlem New York Postal Carrier and Civic Leader) published The Negro Motorist Green Book from 1936 to 1966.  In the Green Book (as it was so known) were listings of hotels, restaurants, beauty and barber shops, service stations, automotive garages and numerous other businesses that would service African American patrons.  Likewise, sundown towns were not indigenous to the south only as Green and Beauchamp found them to be all over the United States.
Beauchamp’s findings were shocking. He stated:
“When we set out to film The Injustice Files:  Sundown Towns, my objective was to challenge the opinion that sundown towns still exist in America today. Can African-Americans really travel wherever they please in this modern America?” He further states: “Now having visited communities that were historically known as sundown towns, I am left with the sense that rules may have changed by the book, but towns still exist where the social standard hasn’t been reset.”
Martinsville, Indiana is one of the towns Beauchamp and his crew went to investigate the case of Carol Jenkins. She was a 21-year-old, African American woman that was murdered one dark evening as she was going door to door in town selling encyclopedias. He also travelled to Vienna, Illinois and spoke with Dr. James Loewen, the author of Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism. Also, Beauchamp interviewed Dr. David Hoxie and his experience of being an African American doctor whose practice was run out of Waverly, Ohio, a sundown town in 2004.
The Injustice Files: Sundown Town is produced for Investigation Discovery by Al Roker Entertainment.