Politics

The Men’s Civic Club.

“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.

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  • 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).

The Re-pop-li-can sheriff and deputy.

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“Prisoners escaping from Wilson Jail. The Re-pop-li-can sheriff and deputy of Wilson eat peanuts while the prisoners escape.”

News & Observer (Raleigh), 21 October 1898.

In the months leading up to the cataclysmic election of 1898, the News & Observer almost daily published political cartoons drawn by Wayne County native Norman Jennett. Former Wilson resident Josephus Daniels had purchased the paper in 1894 and immediately converted it into the organ of the white supremacist Democratic party. In collaboration with Daniels, whom history records as “progressive,” Jennett created a series of panels ridiculing Republican and Populist political figures and featuring stereotypical caricatures of their African-American allies. Riding in the wake of terrorist Red Shirts, the Democrats swept elections, sparking a wave of fury that would ignite the Wilmington Riots and effectively disenfranchise most African-Americans for decades to come.

W.J. “Jack” Cherry, a Populist, was the incumbent sheriff of Wilson County; W.D.P. Sharpe was running against him on the Democratic ticket. (I have not been able to identify the deputy.) Days before the election, the Wilson Advance ran this doggerel:

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Wilson Advance, 2 November 1898.

And the jail break?

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Wilson Advance, 11 August 1898.

A different kind of Republican convention.

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Wilson Advance, 17 May 1888.

6 27 1894 WM

Wilson Mirror, 27 June 1894.

  • A.D. Dawson — Alexander D. Dawson.
  • Daniel Vick
  • Gray Farmer 
  • James Bynum — Perhaps, farm worker James Bynum, 43, with wife Mary, 41, in the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County.
  • W.H. VickWilliam Henry Vick.
  • B.R. WinsteadBraswell R. Winstead.
  • S.A. SmithSimeon A. Smith.
  • Gray Newsome — In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Gray Newsome died 3 September 1930 in Pine Level township, Johnston County. His death certificate notes that he was born about 1853 in Wilson County to Willie and Nancy Jenkins Newsome of Wilson County.
  • Honorable Geo. H. White — United States Congressman. See here and here.