race

Lane Street Project: Zoom Q. and A. tonight.

Please join me tonight for a little history of Wilson’s African-American cemeteries and of Lane Street Project. The Season 3 opening clean-up is in just a few days, and this will be an opportunity to ask anything you want to know about us!

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Lisa Y. Henderson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Lane Street Project Q&A
Time: Jan 10, 2023 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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N.A.A.C.P.’s Walter White speaks in Wilson.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 May 1933.

Two years into his long stint as Executive Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Walter F. White delivered a lecture at Wilson’s Calvary Presbyterian Church.

For more about White’s extraordinary life as a civil rights activist, see here and A.J. Baime’s White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret (2022).

Walter F. White (1893-1955).

Hat tip to G.K. Butterfield Jr. for the article on White’s visit — he learned of the event from his father, G.K. Butterfield Sr. 

Photograph of Walter Francis White, between 1920 and 1940. NAACP Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (051.00.00) Courtesy of the NAACP [Digital ID # cph.3c07019].

Pierce asks, “Will you do your part?”

Though I have not been able to find Fletcher F. Pierce‘s letter to the editor concerning the state teachers association, I did find these letters, published in sequence in the 26 September 1933 edition of the Wilson Daily Times.

Pierce was about 21 years old at the time and clearly had a voice that he was willing to use. In these letters, he first called on the Times to act on its commitment to justice for the laboring class by sharing information about the New Deal’s impact on low area wages.

Next, he called the employers of domestic servants to task for the abysmally low wages paid to these men and women (who were overwhelmingly African-American.) “Now how in the name of sound economics can these low salaries raise the standard of living in this town?,” Pierce asked.

Wilson Daily Times, 26 September 1933.

Epps’ two cents.

Wilson Daily Times, 18 October 1933.

As far as I am able to tell, Charles Montgomery Epps never lived in Wilson, but he had a whole lot to say about Black Wilson’s education affairs. A former school principal in Tarboro and Greenville, North Carolina, Epps was the first outsider on the scene in the wake of school superintendent Charles L. Coon’s slap of African-American teacher Mary C. Euell. Black Wilsonians promptly sent him packing

Here, Epps lambastes Fletcher F. Pierce, a “young man of Wilson,” for criticizing the Executive Secretary of the North Carolina Negro Teachers Association in a letter published in the Greensboro Daily News. I have not been able to find Pierce’s letter. Epps’ admonishment is par for his course, though — lots of cautions to African-Americans not to stir up anything or risk disturbing “the beautiful relations existing between both races.”

“We get no inspiration from the fiery enemies of our race,” but cheers to George W. Connor.

Wilson Daily Times, 5 September 1913.

Signed only “Colored Citizen,” this anonymous tribute to George Whitfield Connor gets in a little pointed jabs at the “enemies of our race” while praising Connor, who had been appointed resident judge of North Carolina’s Second Judicial Circuit six months earlier. Connor, like his father Henry G. Connor, later was appointed a North Carolina Supreme Court justice. 

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Blaming the coons.

Wilson Advance, 20 June 1889.

Josephus DanielsWilson Advance advanced a racist theory to explain why the Mount Olive Telegram was not receiving its courtesy copies of “brethren” newspapers — the appointment of African-American postal route agents, “coons … turned loose among loads of mail matter.” Alfred Robinson was one such agent.

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.