automobile culture

The average negro will drive a car exactly like he drives a horse.

Wilson Daily Times, 15 December 1916.

Though this whole opinion piece is cast in racialized terms, the writer (the Times editor? so nearly killed? if so, his writing is atrocious) slips and admits that bad driving cut across caste — “some white drivers will do the same thing.” 

Only in the second paragraph does he turn to the matter of correcting the previous day’s factual errors — Pearlie Hodges, not Cliff Williams, was driving the car that struck Mr. Oettinger’s car (only white people received the honorific Mr., Mrs. or Miss by the journalistic standards of the day), and Ernest Brown wasn’t there at all.

Brown’s Service Station.

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This undated photograph is found in a scrapbook belonging to the Oliver Nestus Freeman family.

Brown’s Service Station stood at 1216 East Nash Street. Containing a small grocery, it was an early precursor to today’s convenience store. Per a label, Nestus Freeman is one of the men depicted; my guess is the man at left holding the gasoline pump nozzle. Note the Coca-Cola and Texaco advertising.

Entry under “Grocers–Retail” in the 1925 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., City Directory.

Freeman’s album is among the documents digitized by in the Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House Museum Group of the Images of North Carolina Collection.