The Missionary Home Employment Office is open for business.

Wilson Daily Times, 8 October 1917.

The Missionary Home Employment Office served as a staffing agency for white employers seeking African-American employees, with a likely focus on domestic help. Chairman of the Board G.W. Barnes was none other than George W. “Picture-taking” Barnes, and his photography studio address also housed the new business. Treasurer H. Hill was probably Henrietta Hill.

Neither Rev. A.A.I. Davis nor Jessie B. McLauchlin appear in the 1916 city directory of Wilson, but we’ve met Rev. Davis before. He was the peripatetic Baptist preacher behind a series of “old people’s homes” that opened in eastern North Carolina circa 1917 to 1920, including one in Wilson that operated briefly at 310 Lodge Street.

A year later, an ad in a Raleigh newspaper shed a little light on who might have constituted the Missionary Home Employment Office’s labor pool — the old people, “fallen girls,” and orphans that found themselves in the Missionary Home. Oliver N. Freeman had replaced Jessie B. McLauchlin in this dubious enterprise. 

News and Observer (Raleigh, N.C.), 8 September 1918.

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