Migration

I do like they done.

Martha Ann Tyson Dixon of DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, sat for an interview with a Federal Writers Project worker in the late 1930s. Dixon had spent her childhood enslaved near Saratoga, Wilson County, and she and her husband Luke D. Dixon had migrated west in the late 1880s. More than 50 years after Emancipation, she vividly described the hardships of life during and after slavery.

“I am eighty-one years old. I was born close to Saratoga, North Carolina. My mother died before I can recollect and my grandmother raised me. They said my father was a white man. They said Jim Beckton [Becton]. I don’t recollect him. My mother was named Mariah Tyson.

“I recollect how things was. My grandmother was Miss Nancy Tyson’s cook. She had one son named Mr. Seth Tyson. He run her farm. They et in the dining room, we et in the kitchen. Clothes and somethng to eat was scarce. I worked at whatever I was told to do. Grandma told me things to do and Miss Nancy told me what to do. I went to the field when I was pretty little. Once my uncle left the mule standing out in the field and went off to do something else. It come up a hard shower. I crawled under the mule. If I had been still it would have been all right but my hair stood up and tickled the mule’s stomach. The mule jumped and the plough hit me in my hip here at the side. It is a wonder I didn’t get killed.

“After the Civil War was times like now. Money scarce and prices high, and you had to start all over new. Pigs was hard to start, mules and horses was mighty scarce. Seed was scarce. Everything had to be started from the stump. Something to eat was mighty plain and scarce and one or two dresses a year had to do. Folks didn’t study about going so much.”

“I had to rake up leaves and fetch em to the barn to make beds for the little pigs in cold weather. The rake was made out of wood. It had hickory wood teeth and about a foot long. It was heavy. I put my leaves in a basket bout so high [three or four feet high.] I couldn’t tote it — I drug it. I had to get leaves in to do a long time and wait till the snow got off before I could get more. It seem like it snowed a lot. The pigs rooted the leaves all about in day and back up in the corners at night. It was ditched all around. It didn’t get very muddy. Rattle snakes was bad in the mountains. I used to tote water — one bucketful on my head and one bucketful in each hand. We used wooden buckets. It was a lot of fun to hunt guinea nests and turkey nests. When other little children come visiting that is what we would do. We didn’t set around and listen at the grown folks. We toted up rocks and then they made rows [terraces] and rock fences about the yard and garden. They looked so pretty. Some of them would be white, some gray, sometimes it would be mixed. They walled wells with rocks too. All we done or knowed was work. When we got tired there was places to set and rest. The men made plough stocks and hoe handles and worked at the blacksmith shop in snowy weather. I used to pick up literd [lightwood] knots and pile them in piles along the road so they could take them to the house to burn. They made a good light and kindling wood.

“They didn’t whoop Grandma but she whooped me a plenty.

“After the war some white folks would tell Grandma one thing and some others tell her something else.  She kept me and”

“cooked right on. I didn’t know what freedom was. Seemed like most of them I knowed didn’t know what to do. Most of the slaves left the white folks where I was raised. It took a long time to ever get fixed. Some of them died, some went to the cities, some up North, some come to the country. I married and come to Fredonia, Arkansas in 1889. I had been married since I was a young girl. But as I was saying the slaves still hunting a better place and more freedom. Grandma learnt me to set down and be content. We have done better out here than we could done in North Carolina but I don’t believe in so much rambling.

“We come on the passenger train and paid our own way to Arkansas. It was a wild and sickly country and has changed. Not like living in the same country. I try to live like the white folks and Grandma raised me. I do like they done. I think is the reason we have saved and have good a living as we got. We do on as little as we can and save a little for the rainy day.”

——

In the 1860 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Nancy Scarborough, 47; Victoria, 10, Susan, 6, and Laurina Scarborough, 3; farm manager Seth Tyson, 23; and Julia, 18, Nancy, 17, Aaron, 15, and Abner Tyson, 13.

In the 1870 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Mary Tyson, 62, with Edith, 23, John, 21, Abraham, 16, and Martha Tyson, 11.

In the 1880 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: Martha Tyson, 20, was a cook in the household of white marchant/farmer Mark Atkinson.

Martha Tyson, 26, married Luke Dixon, 26, in Wilson County on 12 February 1885. Minister E.H. Ward performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles Batts, Tempey Cotton and Green Taylor.

In the 1910 census of Watensaw township, Prairie County, Arkansas: Luke Dixon, 49, saw filer at Bar factory, and wife Martha M., 52.

In the 1920 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cedar Street, farmer Luke Dixon, 58; wife Martha, 59; and cousins Margaret Tyson, 14, and Oleo McClarin, 9.

In the 1930 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cypress Street, owned and valued at $2000, Luke D. Dixon, 70, born in Virginia, and wife Martha, 70, born in North Carolina, with cousin Allen Reaves, 8.

In the 1940 census of DeValls Bluff, Prairie County, Arkansas: on Cypress Street, owned and valued at $2000, Luke Dixon, 84, born in Virginia, and wife Martha A., 84, born in North Carolina.

Federal Writers’ Project: Slave Narrative Project, Vol. 2, Arkansas, Part 2, Cannon-Evans, http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mesn.022.

Where did they go?: Arkansas World War II draft registrations.

In the 1880s and ’90s, thousands of African-Americans left North Carolina for Arkansas, seeking better fortune. Many settled in Lonoke, Jefferson and Pulaski Counties in the east-central part of the state, including the families of these World War II draft registrants.

  • Jethro Aycock

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: farmer Samuel Acock, 36; wife Jane, 35; and children Sam, 15, Fannie, 13, Harrett, 12, Amos, 10, Emma, 8, Mattie, 6, Hannah L., 4, Maggie, 2, and Jeathroe, 1.

  • Peter Aycox

In the 1900 census of Barraque township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: farmer Green Aycock, 52; wife Janie, 48; and children Robert, 30, Lary, 18, and Peter, 13; plus mother Faine Aycock, 81.

  • Jim Baker

In the 1910 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County: on England Road, farmer James Baker, 26, wife Mae E., 23, and children Bertha, 3, and Annie, 7 months.

  • Clayton Barnes

In the 1910 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer Clayton Barnes, 24; wife Jennie, 25; step-daughters Lizzie Phillips, 12, and Carrie Phillips, 8; plus sister-in-law Lucelia Jones, 18. The adults were born in North Carolina; the children in Arkansas.

  • Richard Barnes

In the 1930 census of Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas: at 1515 Bishop Street, owned and valued at $3000, Richard B. Barnes, 40, an office building porter, and wife Hazel Barnes, 30.

  • James Columbus Bynum

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: laborer Larence Bynum, 24; wife Edney, 19; children James, 1, and Mary J., 1 month; mother-in-law Liddie Bynum, 55; brother Isac Bynum, 22; and sister-in-law Anna Bynum, 17.

In the 1930 census of Well township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer J.C. Bynum, 51; wife Florence, 50; daughter Odessa, 12, and adopted son Columbus Webb, 5. J.C. and Florence were born in North Carolina; the children in Arkansas.

  • Charley Augusta Bynum

In the 1880 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County, see James C. Bynum above.

In the 1900 census of Richwoods, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Laurance Bynum, 55; wife Edna, 39; children Mary, 19, Charlie, 17, Hattie, 16, Rachel, 9, Lewis, 6, Cora, 3, and Laurance, 11 months; grandsons Mack and Romie Notsie, both 1 week; and son-in-law Ed Notsie, 25. The Children after Rachel were born in Arkansas.

  • Josh Griffin

In the 1910 census of Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas: at East 11th Street, Josh Griffin, 28, public works laborer; wife Lizzie, 30; and stepson Willie Sanders, 6.

  • Tom Hooks

In the 1920 census of Barraque township, Jefferson County, Arkansas: on Little Rock Road, farmer Thomas Hooks, 43; wife Lula, 44; and children Thomas, 16, Nathan, 14, Carolina, 14, Corena, 10, Nora B., 7, Wilber, 6, Vandie, 4, and Fredona, 1. All the children were born in Arkansas.

  • Andrew Jackson Jones

  • George Daniel Jones

In the 1900 census of Williams township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: Virginia-born farmer Peter Jones, 50; wife Ellen, 44; and son George, 20, both born in North Carolina.

  • Robert Daniel Parker

Perhaps, in the 1900 census of Lafayette township, Lonoke County, Arkansas: farmer Ceaza Parker, 39; wife Cinda, 42; and children Mattie, 16, Willis, 14, Daniel, 12, Luvenia, 8, Huburt, 7, Piety, 4, and Mary A., 1.

I joined to be with my husband.

On 25 October 2009, Wilson native Kay C. Westray sat for an interview with a member of Washington, D.C.’s Zion Baptist Church Historical and Preservation Commission’s Oral History Committee. Here is an excerpt:

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

BRISCOE: What is your name?
K. WESTRAY: My name is Kay C. Westray.
BRISCOE: When and when were you born?
K. WESTRAY: I was born on March 6, 1918 in Wilson, North Carolina.
BRISCOE: What were your parents’ names?
K. WESTRAY: My mother’s name was Melissa Hill and my father was named Lovet Hill.
BRISCOE: What is your educational background?
K. WESTRAY: I was educated in the Wilson, North Carolina public schools, and I graduated from Fayetteville State Secondary College in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
BRISCOE: What were the main jobs you have held?
K. WESTRAY: I worked as a clerk at the Veteran’s Administration. I quit that job in 1951. I am now retired.

BRISCOE: Tell me about your marital status and your family.
K. WESTRAY: Since September 6, 1947, I have been married to Lynwood C. Westray. We have been married for 62 years. We have one daughter, Gloria Westray Nuckles, who lives in Fort Stockton, Texas. She teaches at the prison school. We have no grandchildren.
BRISCOE: Where else have you lived?
K. WESTRAY: I lived in Wilson, North Carolina and in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where I went to college. I came to Washington, DC in 1939.
BRISCOE: Thank you for telling me about your life up to now. Our next set of questions will ask about your Faith Life.

FAITH LIFE

BRISCOE: When and where did you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior? What was the name of that church?
K. WESTRAY: I accepted Christ as my Savior and got baptized at 8 or 9 years of age. My father took me to St. Johns AME Zion Church in Wilson, North Carolina. Rev. B. P. Coward was the pastor.
BRISCOE: Why did you join Zion?
K. WESTRAY: I joined Zion in 1947 to be with my husband.

——

In the 1920 census of Township 9, Craven County, North Carolina — farmer Hugh L. Hill, 34; wife Malissie, 32; and children Mamie, 8, Katie, 6, Evolena, 4, and William, 2.

Malissa Hill died 21 March 1929 in childbirth in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 38 years old and was born in Greene County, North Carolina, to Frank Jenkins of Pitt County and Allie Mae Fonville of Greene County. Henry L. Hill was informant.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 232 Manchester Street, rented for $18/month, widower Henry L. Hill, 44, sawmill laborer, and children Mamie E., 18; Evenlyne, 15, Katie B., 17, William, 2, Jessie M., 9, Emaniel, 7, Benjamin, 5, and Myrtina, 3.

Henry Lovet Hill died 25 August 1957 of a heart attack at Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church. Per his death certificate, he was born 31 [sic] November 1871 in Craven County to William Jackson Hill and Emma Jane Hill; resided at 507 Hadley Street, Wilson; was married; worked as a preacher and laborer; and “as a lay preacher he had just finished his sermon, turned to sit down, when he slumped over.”

Katie C. Westray, age 100, died “[o]n Monday, May 13, 2013; loving and devoted wife of Lynwood C. Westray; beloved mother of Gloria J. Nuckles. She is also survived by her sister Mertina H. Hill; and a host of other relatives and friends. A Memorial Service will be held at Zion Baptist Church, 4850 Blagden Avenue NW on Tuesday, May 21 at 12 noon. Interment private. Services by Stewart.”

Christopher L. Taylor, California dentist and civil rights leader.

Dentist and civil rights leader Christopher L. Taylor was born in Wilson, North Carolina, to Russell Buxton Taylor and Viola Gaither on December 21, 1923. Taylor served in the United States Army in World War II. In 1945, he received a bachelor of arts degree from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Five years later, he earned a D.D.S. degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Taylor opened his dental practice in the then-predominately African American Watts district of Los Angeles, California, in 1951. During the 1950s and 1960s, he provided bus service to his clinic and sponsored the annual Children’s Christmas Parade and Party. He also gave baskets of food to needy families at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Christopher Taylor played a major role in the then-evolving civil rights movement in the largest city in the West and the third largest city in the nation. In the early 1960s, he headed the Los Angeles branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In May of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a civil rights rally of thirty-five thousand people at Wrigley Field Baseball Stadium in Los Angeles.

Shortly after King’s visit, Taylor established the United Civil Rights Committee (UCRC) and directed it as the committee became the most vocal organization for black equality in the history of the city. UCRC included members of the NAACP, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Congress of Racial Equality. Several individual black leaders also belonged to UCRC. Among them were Los Angeles councilman Tom Bradley, leading civil rights attorney Loren Miller, and Marnesba Tackett, head of the NAACP’s education committee.

On June 24, 1963, Taylor and Tackett organized a mass protest against school segregation. Led by UCRC, over a thousand citizens marched from the First African Episcopal Church through the downtown business district to the offices of the Los Angeles Board of Education. It was, to that time, the largest demonstration for African American civil rights in the city’s history. Taylor led nine other marches for school integration. He also marched throughout Los Angeles County in 1963 and 1964 for housing integration and employment opportunities for African American residents.

Taylor also engaged in important political work which he saw as parallel to and supportive of his civil rights efforts. He served as eastside Los Angeles chairman for the successful re-election of California Governor Edmund G. ”Pat” Brown in 1962 and the election of Tom Bradley to the Los Angeles mayoralty in 1973. Bradley’s election marked the first time since the Spanish-Mexican era that someone of African ancestry had served as mayor of the city, and Taylor was publicly proud of the role he had played in the campaign.

During the 1960s, Taylor received numerous awards for his civil rights leadership. Among them were the NAACP Life Membership Award, Los Angeles City Council Award for Civil Rights, and the Presidential Commendation for Human Rights.

Christopher L. Taylor died in Wilson, North Carolina, on August 16, 1995, at the age of seventy-one. He was survived by two sons.

Sources:
“Dr. Christopher L. Taylor, Noted Civil Rights Leader,” Los Angeles Sentinel, November 8, 1995; N.C. Department of Health, North Carolina Deaths, 1993-1996; Josh Sides, L.A. City Limits: African American Los Angeles from the Great Depression to the Present (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

— “Christopher L. Taylor (1923-1995),” African-American History in the West, blackpast.org

Pennsylvania prisoners.

  • Bud Wright

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Bud Wright was convicted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of “assault and battery to kill” in February 1921 and sentenced to five to seven years. Per his prison record, he was born in Wilson on 26 February 1892; worked as a laborer; was illiterate, having dropped out of third grade at age 12; left home at age 12; occasionally drank to excess; was married with no children; had 26 cents in cash, one pocketbook, and four keys; and his wife Rosie Wright lived at 732 Siegel Street, Philadelphia.

  • William Hall

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William Hall was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced 25 June 1924 in Philadelphia to six to twelve years. Per his prison record, he was born 4 September 1894 in Wilson; had a patch of white hair (a birthmark) above his left eyebrow; worked as a bell boy; left home at age 14; was Baptist; was unmarried; had two shirts and two sleeve buttons; and his sister Ella Wilcher lived at 2424 Oxford Street, Philadelphia.

Hall’s record included a card recording his Bertillon measurements, an early system of criminal identification.

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  • James Foreman

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James Former, alias James Henry Forman, was convicted of larceny and sentenced 11 October 1919 in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, to one to three years. Per his prison record, he was born 8 May 1895 in Wilson; occasionally drank too much; worked as a bell boy; left school at age 12 and left home at age 18; was married with no children; had one money belt; and his mother Anna Forman lived at 205 Spruce Street, Wilson.

  • Samuel Ennis

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Samuel Ennis was convicted of assault and battery and aggravated assault and battery and sentenced 2 October 1928 in Philadelphia to two to four years. Per his prison record, he was born 10 March 1890 in Wilson; worked as a laborer; completed the fourth grade; left home at age 15; was Baptist; was unmarried; had 15 cents, one carfare carrier and one key on a ring; and his sister Gertrude Brodie lived at 802 Green Street, Wilson.

——

Gertrude Ennis, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Tom and Mariah Ennis, married George Broddie, 21, son of Thornton and Lizzie Brodie, on 15 February 1903 in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at Ed McCullers‘ residence in the presence of Ellen Brodie, Ione Holden and Eddie McCullers.

Pennsylvania, Prison, Reformatory, and Workhouse Records, 1829-1971, http://www.ancestry.com.

Snaps, no. 21: Charles William Hagans.

Charles Hagans 2

Charles Hagans

Charles William Hagans (1883-1949), son of Lawrence and Mary Etta Pender Hagans.

——

In the 1900 census of Gardners township, Wilson County: farmer Larnce Haggan, 49, wife Etha, 44, and children Joe, 21, Augustus, 19, Oscar, 18, Charlie, 16, Annie, 13, Connie, 10, Lena, 8, Mollie, 7, William L., 4, Minnie, 3, and Pattie, 1, and Lawrence’s widowed mother Alice Hagans, 70.

In the 1920 census of Beaver Falls, Beaver County, Pennsylvania: at 1315 Seventh Avenue, Charles Hagen, 35, self-employed barber; wife Gertrude, 36; lodger London Broady, 32, barber; and nephew Raymond Hartzell, 30, garage mechanic. Charles was born in North Carolina; Gertrude and Raymond in Ohio; and London in Virginia.

Report to the 1920 census notwithstanding, C. William Hagans and Amanda G. Nichols were not married until 25 January 1921, when they wed in Summit County. Ohio. Per their marriage license, Hagans was born 9 April 1884 in Wilson County, N.C., to Lawrence Hagans and Mary Gray; worked as a barber; and lived at 28 Arch Street, Barberton, Ohio. Amanda G. Nichols was born 23 November 1883 in Chillicothe, Ohio, to Robert R. Hackley and Julia Adams, and had been married once before.

In 1921, Gertrude Hagans purchased an ad in The Tiger, the Beaver Falls High School yearbook:

On 1 July 1927, Charles W. Hagans was sentenced to serve one year in the Allegheny County Workhouse on a conviction for unspecified liquor law violations. A register shows that he reported 7 July 1927; was 43 years old; was born in North Carolina; was of medium complexion with black hair and brown eyes; was 5’8″, weighed 160 pounds at entry at 174 at release; was a barber (and worked as same while incarcerated); and was a Methodist. He was released early — on 30 April 1928.

In the 1930 census of Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Michigan: at 148 Roseneath, rented for $35/month, barber Charles W. Hagans, 45, born in North Carolina; wife Gertrude M., 46, born in Ohio; and lodgers John Young, 30, drugstore porter, born in Pennsylvania; and Harry Godbolt, 46, barber, born in South Carolina.

In the 1940 census of Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Michigan:  at 101 Glenurban Avenue, barber Charles W. Hagans, 56, born in North Carolina; wife Gertrude, 56, born in Ohio; and lodgers Taswell Buckner, 50, insect and rodent exterminator, born in Alabama, and Harry Godbolt, 55, laborer on city streets, born in South Carolina.

In 1942, Charles William Hagans registered for the World War II draft in Calhoun County, Michigan. Per his registration card, he was born 9 April 1884 in Wilson County, North Carolina; resided at 36 North Wood, Battle Creek, Calhoun County; and his contact and employer was George Anderson, 56 1/2 Capital S.W., Battle Creek.

Charles W. Hagans died 11 November 1943 in Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Michigan. Per his death certificate, he was born 9 April 1884 in Wilson, North Carolina, to Lawrence W. Hagans.

Gertrude Marie Hagans died 5 October 1948 in Battle Creek. Per her death certificate, she was born 1891 in Chillicithe, Ohio, to James Hockley.

Charles and Gertrude Hagans are buried in Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson.

Photos courtesy of Ancestry.com user TeiaHarper1; U.S. School Yearbooks, 1900-1990, database on-line at Ancestry.com; Allegheny County Workhouse, Pennsylvania Prison, Reformatory and Workhouse Records, 1829-1971, database on-line at Ancestry.com.

Wilsonian Ward appointed Chief Surgeon at Tuskegee.

Wilson Daily Times, 28 January 1924.

More than 40 years after he left, the link between Dr. Joseph H. Ward and Wilson was well-enough known that the Daily Times printed an article about his appointment as Chief Surgeon at Tuskegee’s veterans hospital.

Charles S. Darden, Esq.

The second of Charles H. and Dinah Scarborough Darden’s sons, Charles Sylvester Darden made his mark far from home — in Los Angeles, California.  Though he largely eluded the decennial censuses, the trajectory of Darden’s career as a hard-charging attorney can be glimpsed in contemporary newspapers and other documents.

Dinah Darden and her elder sons, James B., Charles S. and John W. Darden.

In the 1880 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charles Darden, 26; wife Diana, 21; and children John, 3, Annie, 2, and Charlie, 9 months.

Charles Darden received an undergraduate degree at Howard University and graduated from its law school in 1904.

The Evening Star (Washington, D.C.), 31 May 1904.

In short order, Darden headed West and in 1906 passed the examination for admission to the California bar. He was one of the first licensed African-American lawyers in the state.

The anomaly of Darden’s position early caught the attention of the local press, and in 1907 this mocking piece appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles Times, 25 December 1907.

Within his community, however, Darden was taken seriously. In May 1908, his place in the political life of black Los Angeles was signaled by his inclusion among leaders calling for a protest against Republican presidential nominee William H. Taft for his recommendation that President Theodore Roosevelt dismiss black soldiers blamed for murder in the Brownsville Affair.

 

Los Angeles Herald, 31 May 1908.

That same year, Darden was instrumental in organizing a Howard University alumni association in Los Angeles. The Times covered the group’s annual banquet in 1909.

Los Angeles Times, 11 February 1909.

By 1911, Darden had entered the arena in which he had the greatest impact — real estate development and litigation. That year, as the first black lawyer to argue before the California Supreme Court, Darden attacked racially restrictive covenants

By 1913, he and ten others incorporated the Co-operative Commercial Investment Company.

Los Angeles Times, 27 November 1913.

He also was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1913.

Journal of the Supreme Court of the United States.

In 1915, black police officer Homer L. Garrott purchased a home in the Angeles Park subdivision of Los Angeles. Angeles Park lots were covered by a restrictive covenant prohibiting sales to black, Japanese and Chinese buyers, and the Title Guarantee Company sued to enforce it. Charles S. Darden stepped up to defend Garrott. A Superior Court judge ruled in Garrott’s favor, striking down race restrictions as null and void. Angeles Park and the title company appealed, and the case reached the California State Supreme Court in 1919. The ruling was affirmed, but bizarrely undercut by the court’s decision in another case upholding the validity of occupancy clauses. (For more re Garrott, see Douglas Flamming, Bound for Freedom: Black Los Angeles in Jim Crow America (2005)).

As the United States entered World War I, Darden got involved in protests over the forced retirement of African-American Colonel Charles Young in the wake of resistance by white officers balking at being outranked by a black man. In a letter to Dean Kelly Miller of Howard University, Darden also championed of the causes of Captain Benjamin O. Davis Sr. and a Captain Green, who had also been effectively sidelined.

Kansas City Sun, 21 July 1917.

Two months later, Darden wrote directly to the Secretary of the War Department, complaining that the applications of well-qualified young African-American men were being turned down “because of their color.” The response was terse and not entirely to the point: “At the present time no colored squadrons are being formed and applications from colored men for this branch of service cannot be considered for that reason.”

Letter from Secretary of War to Charles S. Darden, 11 August 1917; W.E.B. Du Bois Papers (MS 312); Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

In 1918, Charles Sylvester Darden registered for the World War I draft in Los Angeles. Per his registration card, he was born 10 August 1879 in Wilson, North Carolina; resided at 224 South Spring, Los Angeles; was a self-employed lawyer at 407 Germain, Los Angeles; was 5’4″ and of medium build; and his nearest relative was Charles H. Darden, 110 Pender Street, Wilson, North Carolina.

“Incorporations,” Southwest Builder and Contractor, volume 57, number 11 (18 March 1921).

The beach at Santa Monica’s Bay Street, popular with African-Americans in the early 20th century, was derogatorily called “The Inkwell”. While they appreciated the access to the Pacific Ocean that the beach represented, local African-American leaders also wanted an end to all efforts to inhibit their freedom to use all public beaches. In 1922, the Santa Monica Bay Protective League attempted to purge African Americans from the city’’s shoreline by blocking an effort by the Ocean Frontage Syndicate, an African American investment group led by Norman O. Houston and Charles S. Darden, to develop a resort with beach access at the base of Pico Boulevard. Santa Monica officials quickly enacted zoning laws to deny the Ocean Frontage Syndicate beach front property, changing such regulations once whites bought the land and made similar development proposals.

In 1940, Darden partnered with two African-American doctors to form the Los Angeles Negro Professional Men’s Athletic Club, a venue for boxing matches, ball games, dances and other affairs.

Pittsburgh Courier, 29 June 1940.

A whiff of scandal touched Darden in 1940, but failed to gain traction. He was held blameless in a fatal automobile accident on Anaheim’s Santa Ana Canyon Road. Darden apparently never married, and the paper was careful to note that his female companion was white.

Santa Ana Register, 27 August 1940.

In 1942, Charles S. Darden registered for the World War II draft. Per his registration card, he was born 10 August 1879 in Wilson, North Carolina; he resided at 1802 Central, Los Angeles; his phone number was PR 3750; he was employed as an attorney at 1802 Central; and his contact was C.L. Darden, Wilson, North Carolina.

Charles S. Darden died in March 1954 in Los Angeles.

The Daily Press (Newport News, Va.), 17 March 1954.

Photograph of Dardens courtesy of N.J. and C. Darden, Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine; J. Clay Smith Jr., Emancipation: The Making of the Black Lawyer 1844-1944 (1993).

Studio shots, no. 65: Dockery Eatmon.

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Dockery “Dock” Eatmon (1896-1952).

In the 1900 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Reuben Eatman, 34; wife Elizer, 35; and children Jinne, 16, Elizabeth, 13, Grill S., 12, Siddie A., 10, Henry G., 8, Casanda, 6, Dock, 5, and Ada, 3.

In the 1910 census of Old Fields township, Wilson County: farmer Reuben Eatman, 45; wife Eliza, 45; and children Henry, 17, Casandra, 15, Dockery, 13, and Ida, 11.

On 5 July 1914, Dock Eatmon, 19, of Nash County, son of Reuben and Eliza Eatmon, married Mettia Belle Smith, 20, of Nash County, daughter of Tom and Alsie Smith, in Old Fields township, Wilson County.

In 1918, Dock Eatman registered for the World War I draft in Farrells township, Nash County. Per his registration card, he was 21 years old; was born in January 1896 in Wilson, North Carolina; was a farmer; and supported a wife and child.

In the 1920 census of Farrells township, Nash County, North Carolina: farmer Dock Eatmon, 24; wife Mattie, 26; and children Ruthy, 3, and William R., 1 month.

In the 1930 census of Newport News, Warwick County, Virginia: at 715-22nd Street, rented at $12/month, shipyard laborer Dock Eatmon, 35; wife Nettie, 37; and children Lillian, 8, Reuben, 6, and Lindsey, 5.

In the 1940 census of Newport News, Warwick County, Virginia: Doc Eatman, 47, laborer at N.N.S.D.Co.; wife Mattie, 47; and children Lillian, 18, Ruben, 15, and Lincie, 12.

In 1942, Doc Eatmon registered for the World War II draft in Newport News, Virginia. Per his registration card, he was born 7 June 1893 in Wilson County; lived at 4213 Roanoke Avenue, Newport News; his contact was W.C. Smith; and he worked at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company.

Dock Eatmon died 17 November 1952 in Warwick County, Virginia. Per his death certificate, he was born in 1895 in Nash County, North Carolina, to Reuben and Liza Eatmon; resided at 4310 Roanoke Avenue, Newport News, Virginia; was separated; worked as a gardening laborer; and was buried in Pleasant Shade cemetery, Newport News. Informant was Mattie Eatmon.

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Dock Eatmon.

Photographs courtesy of Ancestry.com user faithbridges19.