The attached column is an abstract of an article that first appeared in THE NEW YORK EVENING POST in 1917. The original article was penned by NAACP secretary James Weldon Johnson (1871 – 1938)
"I believe the Negro possesses a valuable and much-needed gift that he will contribute to the future American democracy. I have tried to point out that the Negro is here not merely to be a beneficiary of American democracy, not merely to receive. He is here to give something to American democracy. Out of his wealth of artistic and emotional endowment he is going to give something that is wanting, something that is needed, something that no other element in all the nation has to give."
Johnson was quick to point out that American popular culture was enjoyed the world-over and these dance steps and catchy tunes were not simply the product of the Anglo-Saxon majority.
An article about Albert B. George (1873 - ?) of Chicago, the first African-American to be elected as a municipal court judge:
"An epochal scene will presently be enacted in one of the divisions of Chicago's Municipal Court, pointed out several editors, when there will ascend to its bench Albert Baily George, the Negro just elected Municipal Judge on the Republican ticket by 470,000 votes. In the past a Negro here and there has been appointed judge, notably Robert H. Terrell (1857 - 1925) of Washington, we are told, but this is the first election of one to a regular judicial office."
"Judge George's ancestors were slaves in old Virginia. His success, says the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 'has sent a thrill of hope through the black belts - a new incentive to work and decent living.; It is considered 'a milestone in the journey of the negro race out of the wilderness of slavery, an application of the principles of democracy which may point the way to better things for both races.'"
A profile of Dr. George Washington Carver (1864 – 1943):
"One of the greatest agricultural chemists of our day was born a slave 80 years ago. He has given the world approximately 300 new by-products from the peanut...Today Dr. Carver is the South's most distinguished scientist. He turned the peanut into a $60,000,000 industry."
"I simply go to my laboratory, shut myself in and ask my Creator why He made the peanut. My Creator tells me to pull the peanut apart and examine the constituents. When this is done, I tell Him what I want to create, and He tells me I can make anything that contains the same constituents as a peanut. I go to work and keep working until I get what I want."
The attached file is a digital facsimile of a classified ad that was once posted in a Georgia newspaper long after the Emancipation Proclamation was passed into law. The editors at THE NATION saw fit to title the notice as an "interesting little advertisement" when they reproduced it six months later on their pages. Yet, for the Southerners who set the type-face, applied the ink, delivered the paper and subscribed, the ad was typical of so many other classifieds that had appeared during the past one hundred and fifty years, and it was not, as the Yankees put it:
"...the request of someone who never heard of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States."
One of the seldom remembered casualties in the Northern migration history was the prosecution of those Whites who both encouraged and provided monetary favors to the African-American families seeking a better life in the North.
To learn how many African-Americans served in the W.W. I American Army, click here.
This short notice from a 1917 Georgia newspaper documented the heavy numbers involved in what has come to be known as the Great migration as more and more African-Americans abandoned their homes in the Southern states preferring life in the North. It is believed that between the years 1910 through 1940, some 1.6 million African Americans participated in this exodus. The Southern journalist who penned these three paragraphs clearly felt a sense of personal rejection:
"The worthless ones are remaining here to be cared for... The departure of these Negroes is not spasmodic. It is a steady drain of the best class of laborers that the South now has. Just what remedy is to prevent it we do not know."
Another article about the great migration can be read here.