A survey of Negro laboring classes.

In 1931, Darden High School staff and students conducted a survey of 608 African-American families in Wilson to yield “a cross section of laboring conditions and opportunities offered negroes to make a living.”

The Daily Times took comfort in the lack of transience of the population, proclaiming cheerfully that this indicated a “very decided degree of contentment due to the opportunities offered in Wilson for making a living.” I reach a different takeaway.

Wilson Daily Times, 6 May 1931.


  1. Although awful in what it shows, what an incredible document. I wonder who the teacher was who decided to take it on? What an experience for the students – to learn about history-documenting in this way.

    1. I agree that it’s a remarkable document, and I wish I knew a more about it. I’m especially interested in how the families to be surveyed were selected. The very low number of teachers counted suggests they went out of their way not to pick them.

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