Oct. 23, 2020
Best of the States
Amid heightened racial tensions, ‘Looking for America’ series examines ‘sundown towns’
Many white Americans have likely never heard of “sundown towns,” where Black people were once forbidden after dark. So Tim Sullivan, Noreen Nasir and Maye-E Wong visited one such town, Vienna, Illinois, on the second stop in AP’s “Looking for America” series, to see how it is faring in a year marked by racial protests.
While there is no longer a rule against Black people in Vienna after sunset, the habit persists for many out of fear and tradition. With deep reporting and compelling visuals, the AP team captured a lingering racial divide that is obvious to some people but virtually invisible to others.
For a probing but nuanced package that speaks to a thread of systemic racism, the all-formats team of Sullivan, Nasir and Wong earns this week’s Best of the States award.