violence against children

Eleven year-old boy beaten by white men.

In November 1944, a mail carrier found an eleven year-old African-American boy crying in ditch. The child’s leg was broken, and he revealed that he had been chased and knocked by several drunken white men. The mail carrier took him to a white doctor in Stantonsburg, who recommended that he be taken to Mercy Hospital in Wilson.

I have not been able to find more about the incident.

Wilson Daily Times, 7 November 1944.

I suspect that “Rosette” Artis was actually Roselle Artis, a well-known African-American farmer in the Stantonsburg area. However, as best I can determine, Roselle and Rencie Bynum Artis did not have a son who was 11 years old in 1944. The closest was their son Milton R. Artis, who would have been 9 years old.


In the 1940 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: on Old Wilson Road, farmer Roselle Artis, 27; wife Rencie, 20; son Milton, 4; mother Frances, 60, widow; nephews Marion Jr., 10, and Thomas S., 9;  lodgers Jimmie D. Barnes, 21, and Miles Warren, 60.

He struck the boy in the head with a coal chisel.

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 May 1910.

In 1910, “boy” applied to an African-American male could have meant any age from 3 to 30, but it seems likely that William Hilliard was young by any standard. “Mr.” Ernest Felton, on the other hand, was 16 years old and listed as a carriage factory worker in the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County.