Promoting Edmond as 100% White

Edmond first began promoting itself as an all-white town in the 1920s. The earliest reference that we have found is from the February 2, 1920 issue of the Vista, the student newspaper from what was then Central State Teachers College.2 In the article, titled “Edmond an Ideal School Town,” the author listed the numerous features, and lack thereof, that made Edmond an idea school town: “Undesirable factors, those which should be absent from school towns, are the noise and grime of industries, an uneducated foreign element, a negro element (in a white school town), pool halls, tobacco stores, and cheap and questionable forms of amusement.” The article goes on to state that in Edmond, “There are no…ignorant foreign element to corrupt American ideas; no unschooled Negro element to increase crime.”

Similar articles were published in the Edmond Enterprise in 1921, the Edmond Sun in 1921, and the Vista again in 1924.

Edmond Businesses

In addition to boasting about Edmond being 100% white in the town’s newspapers in the 1920s, by the late 1930s, Edmond businesses began doing so as well. The Royce Cafe was arguably Edmond’s most popular restaurant from the 1930s until closing in 1970. In addition to promoting their restaurant, the Royce Cafe began openly promoting Edmond as 100% white in the early 1940s. Even the Edmond Chamber of Commerce started promoting Edmond this way. There was also the Edmond Newcomers Club making the same claims as late as 1947.

The Royce Cafe

Royce Cafe postcard, c. 1940.

Located along Route 66 on the southeast corner of 4th and Broadway, the Royce Café was a popular Edmond restaurant for nearly 40 years. Royce and Neva Adamson opened the café in 1934 and operated the café together until Royce died in 1942. Neva continued to run the café until 1958 when she sold the restaurant to Jim Mills. The Royce Cafe closed in 1970.

In addition to advertising the café, this postcard was also meant to promote Edmond as an ideal place to live, boasting that the population of Edmond is “6,000 Live Citizens No Negroes.” This Royce Café postcard has been widely circulated and is regularly cited as evidence that Edmond was a sundown town.

Edmond Chamber of Commerce Letterhead

This letter from 1942 is an example of how Edmondites promoted their town, stating that Edmond is a “Good Place To Live” with “6,000 Alert Citizens, No Negroes” that is “Located In the Center of the White Spot of the Universe.”

Edmond Welcomes You…as Long as You’re White

This page is part of the Newcomer’s Guide to Edmond, which would have been given to new Edmond residents. Among numerous letters from Edmond businesses and even the Mayor, this page of statistics lists the population of Edmond in 1946 as “7,500 (estimated), 100% White. No Negroes.”

2.) The higher education school in Edmond changed names numerous times. 1890: Territorial Normal School; 1904 Central State Normal School; 1919: Central State Teachers College; 1930: Central State College; 1971: Central State University; 1990: University of Central Oklahoma.