The Sunrise Project:

Our Work

The Sunrise Project seeks to help communities reconcile their history as a sundown town by developing a new identity as that of a “sunrise community,” the opposite to a sundown town.

Grants Pass Remembrance Logo (1)

Grants Pass, OR

The first community to participate in the Sunrise Project is Grants Pass, OR. Oral history posits that, like dozens of communities across the country, there was a sign in Grants Pass into the late 1960’s/early 1970’s that read, “Nigger don’t let the sun come down you here.” ORP has helped form a group in town known as Grants Pass Remembrance.

Since 2021, Grants Pass Remembrance has held a variety of events in the community promoting the values of truth, justice, and reconciliation. They hold an annual MLK Day celebration, participate in storytelling events throughout the year, walk in the Boatnik parade, host conversations on race, and have started the celebration of Juneteenth in town.

Our state and national consciousness have attempted to forget this history.

Our Vision

We aim to make our vision of a sunrise community invitational to all, regardless of racial, political, or cultural difference. We strive to bring people together toward a shared goal of a community that is welcoming and appreciative of the varying parts that make up the community’s whole.

To educate communities across Oregon, we are working on an educational resource titled, “Oregon: The Sundown State,” which covers the growth of sundown towns both nationally and locally, the evolution of this history, and the next steps that communities can take to becoming sunrise communities.

We are collecting oral history from those with first-hand memories of sundown towns in Oregon. If you or someone you know can add to this history, please fill out this Google Form and we would love to hear from you—no story is too long or too short.

Historical Marker

As part of the Sunrise Project, ORP aims to install a historical marker in each community discussing the history of racial exclusion both in Oregon and that community while also functioning as the community’s stated commitment to inclusivity, or Sunrise Commitment.

While it’s a culmination of work, this installation is the start of a never-ending journey to live out the ideals that are written on the marker. These markers will become the first-ever historical markers about sundown towns in the United States.

We aim to spread the Sunrise Project across Oregon and become a blueprint for communities across the country on how to reconcile our nation’s history of sundown towns.

Discover More

Read our articles to learn about Sundown Towns.

The History

Sundown towns were communities that purposefully excluded African Americans and other racial minorities from living in, or simply passing through, their community.

Grants Pass Remembrance

Since 2021, ORP has supported the growth of a local truth and reconciliation coalition in Grants Pass, OR. Their goal is to help Grants Pass develop a reputation for being welcoming to all.