Wilson Daily Times, 8 November 1943.
This photo of the Men’s Civic Club was taken in the home of one of its members in 1975. Though dated after the period of Black Wide-Awake, like this photo of the Book and Garden Club, it captures several men who came to prominence in Wilson’s African-American middle class in the first half of the 20th century.
Seated (all of whom were original members depicted in the 1941 photograph of the club):
- Spencer J. Satchell, educator.
- Edward M. Barnes, educator.
- Dr. George K. Butterfield Sr., dentist.
- Dr. Joseph F. Cowan, physician.
- William Hines, businessman, hospital administrator.
- Rev. Talmadge Watkins, Baptist minister.
- Separise P. Artis, business owner.
- Rev. Obra J. Hawkins, Presbyterian minister.
- Dr. Frank N. Sullivan Sr., physician.
- John W. Jones, educator.
- Milton M. Daniels, educator.
- John M. Miller Jr., educator
- Cleveland W. Lewis Sr., educator.
- Walter Stevens, educator
- Charles D. James, funeral home director.
- Elmer J. Cummings Sr., educator.
- Carl W. Hines Sr., educator.
- Frank E. Emory Sr., agricultural extension agent.
- Dr. Julian B. Rosemond Sr., dentist.
Any assistance identifying the other club members is much appreciated!
Photo from the collection of the late Susie Chavis Sullivan, courtesy of Frank N. Sullivan Jr. (who taught me to swim at Reid Street Community Center!) Thank you!
This photo, titled “An Early Picture of the Men’s Civic Club,” is in the collection of Wilson’s Freeman Round House Museum. The Civic Club was founded in 1939 to address “the problems and needs (civic, educational and recreational) of the Negroes of greater Wilson — city and county.” The photo probably dates from around 1950. I can only partially name the men depicted. Standing are an unidentified man; Episcopalian priest Rev. Robert J. Johnson; Baptist minister Rev. Fred M. Davis; and an unidentified man. Seated are Camillus L. Darden; an unidentified man; Presbyterian minister Rev. Obra J. Hawkins; and Charles Darden James.
If you can help identify any of these men, please contact me. Thank you.
“By 1939, [George K.] Butterfield and others began advocating for the creation of a more effective organization to fight for the ballot in addition to the NAACP. Joined by doctors J.F. Cowan, I.A. Shade, and D.C. Yancey, funeral home director C.L. Darden, barber shop owner William Hines and others, Butterfield helped create the Men’s Civic Club in the fall of 1939. At the second meeting the men selected their officers. Dr. B.O. Barnes was selected as president; C.L. Spellman, vice-president; M.D. Williams, secretary and C.L Darden treasurer. … The group’s primary objective was to ‘study and support all proposals that we consider beneficial to the Negroes of Wilson.’ Though interested in the benefit of the entire community, the Club specifically concerned itself with ‘the problems and needs (civic, educational and recreational) of the Negroes of greater Wilson — city and county.'”
This photograph was published in the 2 July 1976 edition of the Wilson Daily Times. Though undated, it most likely was taken at an early meeting of the Men’s Civic Club and certainly before the end of 1941, when two of the men depicted passed away.
- Dr. B.O. Barnes — Boisey Otha Barnes (1902-1956), physician, a Wilson native, son of Dave and Della Hines Barnes.
- Dr. G.K. Butterfield — George Kenneth Butterfield (1900-1995), dentist and city councilman, a native of Bermuda.
- David Coley — David Henry Coley (1895-1974), barber, native of Wayne County.
- C.L. Darden — Camillus Lewis Darden (1884-1956), undertaker, a Wilson native, of Charles and Diana Scarborough Darden.
- Dr. William Mitchner — William Arthur Mitchner (1882-1941), physician, native of Johnston County.
- Walter Hines — Walter Scott Hines (1879-1941), barber, native of Edgecombe County, North Carolina, son of Della Hines Barnes.
- Knolly Zachary — Joe Knolly Zachary (1900-1984), barber, native of Perquimans County, North Carolina.
- Dr. J.F. Cowan — Joseph Franklin Cowan (1896-1985), physician, native of South Carolina.
- E.M. Barnes — Edward Morrison Barnes (1905-2002), high school principal, a Wilson native, son of Lemon and Elizabeth Smith Barnes.
- Dr. D.C. Yancey — D’Arcey C. Yancey (1883-1957), pharmacist, native of Danville, Virginia.
- Howard Fitts — Howard Monroe Fitts (1890-1968), teacher, native of Warren County.
- Malcolm Williams — Malcolm Demosthenese Williams (1909-1991), school principal, native of Duplin County.
- Spencer Satchwell — Spencer Jordan Satchell (1910-1992), music teacher, native of Hampton, Virginia.
- Jim Whitfield — James Ashley Whitfield (1892-1960), painter, Wilson native, son of A.W. and Sallie Whitfield.
- Rev. Sanders — Otto Eugene Sanders (1886-1978), Presbyterian clergyman, native of South Carolina.
- Randall James — Randall Roland James Jr. (1916-1981), undertaker, Wilson native, son of Randall and Elizabeth Darden James.
- Robert Johnson — Robert Josiah Johnson (1884-1964), Episcopal priest, native of Hartford, Connecticut.
- Milton Fisher — Milton Wallace Fisher (1907-??), school principal, native of New Haven, Connecticut.
- Levi Jones — Levi Hunter Jones (1876-1961), barber, native of Hertford County, North Carolina.
- Charlie Jones — Charles T. Jones (1878-1963), barber and minister, native of Hertford County, North Carolina.
- Dr. W.H. Phillips — William Haywood Phillips (1875-1957), dentist, native of Raleigh, North Carolina.
- William Hines — William Hines (1884-??), barber and hospital administrator, native of Edgecombe County, son of Della Hines Barnes.
- W.M. Bethel — Wilton Maxwell Bethel (1906-1986), insurance agent, native of Florida.
- Sidney S. Boatwright — Sidney Sherwood Boatwright (1900-1977), barber, native of Mullins, South Carolina.
- Carter Foster — Carter Washington Foster (1914-1955), county agricultural extension agent, Wilson native, son of Walter and Rosa Parker Foster.
- Roderick Taylor — Roderick Taylor (1883-1947), barber, Wilson native, son of Mike and Rachel Barnes Taylor.
Passage excerpted from Charles W. McKinney Jr., Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina (2010).