“He tink he’s sum punkins.”

Josephus Daniels’ News & Observer loved a good laugh at the expense of Black folk, even the ones back home in Wilson. Here, a “special” report of the antics of Wesley Rogers at the Mason Hotel one Saturday night. Rogers, a swell and a dandy, had taken offense at remarks made by another patron and had thrown the man out the door. Rogers’ alleged performance in Mayor’s court was deemed worthy of several column inches of print.

News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 11 November 1908.

  • Wesley Rogers — I had assumed this to be John Wesley Rogers, but the facts do not fit. Rogers owned several businesses over the course of his life, but not a clothes cleaning establishment, and he was in 1908 a married man with children who was not likely to have been lodging at a hotel.
  • “the Mason Hotel, a joint on the east side of the railroad where the negroes do congregate” — I do not know of a Mason Hotel on Nash Street. The description sounds rather like the Orange Hotel (whose owner, Samuel H. Vick, was a well-known Mason), a boarding house that was cited often for gambling and prostitution.

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