rummage sale

At the rummage sale.

Keith Boykin, a native of Wilson County who, like me, has lived decades elsewhere, recently contacted me to share a number of treasures from his collection. Among them, this photo, perhaps taken by Roy Millhouse, marked “at the rummage sale Sept 18 – 43.”

We’ve read about the rummage sales (in which middle-class white women sold cast-off clothing out of their cars to working-class African-American women) here and here, and these articles helped me home in on the location of this shot.

The car is parked in the west side of the 200 block of South Pender Street [then called Stantonsburg Street], just south of Barnes Street. The commercial building in the upper right corner was originally a lodge hall, but housed a grocery store with an upstairs apartment in the 1940s. (And was much later home to the East Branch of the Wilson County Public Library.) The dark, three-story building looming at rear left was Darden Funeral Home. [The Tudor Revival structure that some of us remember as the funeral home building was constructed in 1949.] For more about this block, see here.

Many thanks to Keith Boykin for sharing this remarkable photograph.

Wilson’s queerest market.

In a September 1940 “Wilsonia” column, John G. Thomas memorialized Saturday afternoon rummage sales carried out by white women from cars parked along Stantonsburg (now Pender) Street. Their customers? Black tobacco factory workers whose weekly pay was burning a hole in their pockets.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 September 1940.