Raines & Cox Photographers

Where we worked: Export Leaf Tobacco Company.

Though they once dominated block on block of south downtown Wilson, relatively few tobacco factory and warehouse buildings remain today. The hulking old Export Leaf building, however, still stands at Mercer and Banks Streets.

The building was originally built for John E. Hughes Company, as shown on the 1922 Sanborn fire insurance map.

Sanborn fire insurance map, Wilson, N.C., 1922.

The wooden buildings shown in yellow are long gone. I took the photo above standing in what would have been the space between them. Samuel H. Vick and Andrew J. Townsend owned considerable property in the area, rented to workers at Export and other nearby tobacco companies.

The 200 laborers would have been largely African-American. From “Six Firms Operate Eight Tobacco Redrying Plants in Wilson,” Wilson Daily Times, 19 August 1955.

Guy Cox or Charles Raines shot this image of Black women sorting tobacco leaves at Export about 1946.

The photo below, which accompanied the article above, dates from a time just outside that covered in Black Wide-Awake, but depicts a scene that would have been much the same ten or twenty years earlier.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 August 1955.

Export Leaf Tobacco Company, Images of Historic Wilson, N.C., Images of North Carolina, lib.digitalnc.org.

Snaps, no. 65: At the Zam Zam Club.

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In 1946, Raines and Cox provided photography service to patrons of the Zam Zam Club, a private, white-only supper club just north of Wilson on Highway 301. While on duty, the photographers also took photos of staff of the club, including this dapper gentleman. Anyone recognize him?

Many thanks to John Teel for sharing this image from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina. The photo is catalogued as PhC_196_ZZ_8C.

Anatomy of a photograph: Williams Lumber Company.

Founded in 1912 in Elm City, Williams Lumber Company‘s Wilson sawmill was sandwiched between Banks Street and Hominy Swamp Canal to the north and south, and Douglas (formerly Spring) and South Lodge Streets to the west and east. (There is still a lumber company at that location, but it’s not Williams Lumber.)

In the mid-1940s, Charles Raines and Guy Cox photographed Williams’ workers posing with equipment in the lumber yard.

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A tractor driver.

A forklift driver sits atop a load.

Seven drivers lounge against their trucks.

If you recognize any of these men, please let me know.

This top image is found among the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_299H_WilliamsLumber3. Many thanks to John Teel for sharing. 

At the Acme Candy Company.

This photograph of employees of Acme Candy Company, including a lone unidentified African-American man, appears to have been taken in the 1920s. The candy wholesaler was located at 221 South Goldsboro.

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This image is found among the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives, though it was taken by an earlier photographer. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_8482_copy_AcmeCandy. Many thanks to John Teel for sharing. 

Book and Garden Club.

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This Raines & Cox photograph of the Book and Garden Club appears to have been taken in the mid-to-late 1960s. The setting is the home of Dr. Frank N. and Suzie J. Sullivan on Faison Street. Though the photo itself falls outside the period of focus of Black Wide-Awake, it captures several women who came to prominence in Wilson’s African-American middle class in the first half of the 20th century.

Seated:

First row standing:

Second row standing:

Many thanks to John Teel for sharing this image from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_PHB_7611_Book&GardenClub.

Saint Alphonsus graduates.

November is Black Catholic History Month. Accordingly, I offer these images of a 1949 kindergarten graduation celebration at Saint Alphonsus Catholic School captured by Wilson’s preeminent 20th century photographers Charles Raines and Guy Cox. Do you recognize any of the children?

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Daniel McClain.

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Joyce Ellis.

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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_1211H _StAlphonsusGraduation1 through 10.

Gratitude to Safiya Bandele for identifying the children in photos 5 and 8.

Back to school!

More Raines and Cox photographs of Saint Alphonsus School, these taken in 1949.

Book Week.

Your Best Friends Read Good Books.

This photo, perhaps also shot by Raines and Cox, appears to date from the 1950s.

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Saint Alphonsus School Drum & Bugle Corps.

[On a personal note: One day when I was 4, I followed another child out the front of Kiddie Kollege of Knowledge (formerly St. Alphonsus School) with my arms spread wide. In the inexplicable way that crazy things happen to little kids, my pinky got caught and crushed between the heavy double doors seen in the third image above. My aunt, Hattie H. Ellis, came up Carroll Street from Darden High School — she was a guidance counselor — to take me to the doctor, and I proudly showed off my little cast when I returned to school the next day.]

Top photos: 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_StAlphonsusClassroom3 and
PhC_196_CW_StAlphonsusClassroom2. Bottom: courtesy of Wilson Community Improvement Association.

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

The Jackson Chapel choir.

In about August 1946, Charles Raines and/or Guy Cox visited Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist to photograph its choir. Recognize anyone?

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Many thanks to John Teel for sharing this image from the Raines & Cox collection of photographs at the North Carolina State Archives. It is catalogued as PhC_196_CW_177H_BaptistChurch.

Play with all your might.

On 12 May 1946, Charles Raines and/or Guy Cox visited Saint Alphonsus Catholic School to take these priceless photos of young pupils. Can you identify any of the children?

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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_104H_StAlphonseSchool1,  PhC_196_CW_104H_StAlphonseSchool2 and
PhC_196_CW_104H_StAlphonseSchool3.