fish market

Fish market at night.

On the evening of 2 July 1945, Charles Raines and/or Guy Cox aimed a camera at Hill’s Fish Market, deep in East Wilson’s commercial block. Hill’s and its next-door neighbor, Mercer’s Grocery, were white-owned, but catered to African-American shoppers.

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Hill’s and Mercer’s were at 548 and 550 East Nash Street, across from Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church. (The traffic light faced what was then the south end of Pender Street, which stopped at East Nash. On the other side of Nash, at a dog-leg, was then Stantonsburg Street.) Both buildings are long gone. Dr. Julian B. Rosemond built a dentist’s office at 548 in the late 1960s; it now houses a hair salon. 550 is a vacant lot.

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Interior of Hill’s Fish Market, owned by J. Meade Hill.

Many thanks to John Teel for sharing these images from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. They are catalogued as PhC_196_CW_94-15_HillsFishMarket1 and PhC_196_CW_94-15_HillsFishMarket2

Where we shopped: Hill’s Fish Market.

Wilson Daily Times, 22 August 1944.

Brothers William and Joseph Meade Hill owned and operated a fish market on East Nash Street near Pender (the site later of Dr. Julian B. Rosemond‘s dental office.) The market’s location assured that it served a mostly African-American clientele.

What curious text: “For Your Protection … Always let the little fishes that swim around our adv. dive down into your Telephone Directory or Radio Station WGTM and bring up your Seafood Telephone Number 3291. It’s a number that guarantees fresh seafood.”