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A good bargain for some thrifty colored person.

Wilson Daily Times, 4 November 1944.

Residential segregation did not happen organically. By the early 1900s, specific areas of Wilson were designated colored (white was default), and realtors like George A. Barfoot sold the houses within them accordingly. (Barfoot, C.C. Powell, and other white realtors came to own large swaths of housing in East Wilson as a result of wide-scale loan defaults by Black property owners during the Depression.) By the 1920s, several pockets of African-American settlement west of the A.C.L. railroad and north of Hines Street were deliberately cleared to make way for upscale white neighborhoods, creating strict residential segregation patterns that held for much of the rest of the 20th century.

Hargrave’s Drug Store?

Wilson Times, 1 November 1901.

Though physician Frank S. Hargrave opened a pharmacy in Wilson shortly after his arrival, this advertisement does not tout his business:

  • Dr. Hargrave graduated from medical school in 1901, but practiced in Winston-Salem, N.C., for two years before arriving in Wilson in 1903.
  • The wording of this ad suggests a pharmacy that had been in operation for some time and employed more than one druggist. 
  • Per the Wilson, North Carolina, Industrial & Commercial Directory, published in 1912, Dr. Hargrave’s pharmacy (which he sold to D’Arcy C. Yancey before 1910) was established about 1905. It was called Ideal Pharmacy.
  • Ideal Pharmacy was located at 109 South Goldsboro Street. It was not “next door to Post Office,” which at that time was at 117 North Tarboro Street. 
  • And the clincher — the 1900 census of Wilson lists Benjamin Hargrave, 39, white, druggist. B.W. Hargrave died in 1907 and is buried in Maplewood Cemetery, Wilson.

Start now; be a homeowner.

Wilson Daily Times, 3 March 1920.

The blocks now covered by North East Street and the 900 blocks of Carolina and Washington Streets were once a farm owned by Sallie Lipscombe. In 1920, the farm was subdivided into lots that were offered to African-American buyers wanting to live “in the best colored residential section of Wilson.”

Negro laborers wanted.

Wilson Daily Times, 2 March 1918.

Badin Aluminum Works placed this alluring ad in the Daily Times in 1918. Though working for Alcoa seemed to offer an appealing alternative to sharecropping, life in this company town had a dark side — literally, as the families of African-American workers lived segregated in Negro Town, and figuratively, as the extent and impact of industrial pollution continues to come to light.

“Badin has become a crucible for questions about the legacy of industrialization, racial capitalism, and environmental justice in the American South, and for how choices made and prejudices fomented a century ago reverberate into the present — with the added complication that Badin was a company town.” Read Emily Cataneo’s The Complicated Lgacy of Badin, North Carolina, http://www.undark.org, for more.

[I am searching for evidence that any Black Wilson County families answered this siren call.]

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.