Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: racism

Thursday, December 26, 1912

FAMILY IS WIPED OUT IN HORRIBLE CHRISTMAS TRAGEDY” is set in the largest type I have ever seen on a Courier-Herald front page. “A family of four was wiped out of existence at 11 o’clock Wednesday night in the most complete tragedy ever occurring in this vicinity.” The family’s carriage was struck by a train at Savoy. A little girl, a friend of the family, was the only one to survive, but she was badly injured and may die. They had just been to a wedding near Staley. It is supposed that the carriage was closed and that the driver was unable to hear or see the train. The carriage was reduced to splinters, the bodies of the dead were scattered over a wide area, and the horses returned home, unharmed.

A Chinaman was buncoed by a stranger at his laundry on South Market street. The bunco man showed him a display ad clipped from a newspaper and “informed the washee-washee man that he could have a similar ad in the paper (not mentioning which one) for $2.” The laundryman paid and got a receipt. and later “became suspicious when a diligent search of the local papers failed to reveal his advertisement.”

An explorer named Guy de Villepion planned an expedition into the hidden countries of South America, but nine days after the start in Brazil, his guide stole his boat and supplies, leaving him lost in the jungle. He wandered for three days, subsisting on wild herbs and small turtles, eaten raw. A group of savages made him their prisoner, feeding him their best food for nine days to fatten him before roasting him for their dinner. He managed to escape, and after several days he stumbled into a camp of Portugese rubber planters, who helped him to return to the coast.

Saturday, December 21, 1912

Four University students brought show girls as dates to the Saintz dance in Elks’ hall and were asked to leave. When it became known that the girls were from the “Mother Goose” chorus, currently appearing at the Walker, there was “indignant whispering,” and the Saintz were asked to oust the offending couples. “It fell to Chancey Finfrock to extend the invitation to the octette to do the vanishing act, which he did with as much gallantry as the circumstances would permit.” Saintz club members admit that the chorus girls were well mannered and did nothing objectionable while in the hall.

Elsie Slade is missing again, a colored chiropodist wept “great scalding, briny tears” over his arrest, a housewife whipped an impudent tramp, and a Missouri girl played piano while her school burned to the ground.

Thursday, December 19, 1912

An odd story appeared on the front page today, with the headline “NEGRO WAS UP TO SOME LAWLESSNESS.” Below the headline, it says, “Mulatto Skulks Behind Trees on West Main Street and Runs When Discovered—Acts Strangely.” For the life of me, I cannot understand why this warrants a story in the newspaper. Here is the article in its entirety:

As W. E. Cook of South Busey avenue was returning home at 8 o’clock Wednesday night, a negro, who had been hiding behind a tree in the 500 block on West Main street, darted out and ran by him. Getting some distance ahead of Cook, the man began walking slowly, evidently waiting for the former to overtake him. Cook armed himself with a brick, whereupon the negro ran south on Coler avenue, but returned to Main street after waiting for Cook to get out of sight. The prowler is described as a tough looking mulatto.

In Peoria, railroad men caught three girl hobos. The girls said they had been on the road for weeks, having traveled many hundreds of miles, and were happy. They were bound for Lexington, Missouri. “The fair tramps had all the train times down in a little notebook.”

Football, Educated Bears, and a Magical Chink

at least it doesn't say "chink" in the ad

This ad appeared in the Urbana Courier-Herald on December 14, 1912. Here is the full text of the review in the same paper:

Mlle. Spellman and her educated bears will be the Waker [sic] feature for Monday—this is some act for it has played before the crowds at the New York Hippodrome. Big bears and little bears, but all of them trained marvelously are put through difficult and amusing paces. The intelligent bears head a bill which includes Nadell and Kane, comedians; Nealis and Hopkins, “The Postman and the Maid,” and Ah Ling Foo, the Chink magician. Final performances tonight of Nan Halperin and her “Suffragettes,” an amusing musical show featured by Nan herself—she is a comedienne of originality and her imitations of “vodvil” are worth a trip to the Walker.

Thursday, December 12, 1912

Representative S. A. Roddenberry of Georgia has introduced a House resolution to “forbid the marriage of negroes and persons of any other color.” Angered by the recent marriage of “Jack” Johnson, a negro prize fighter, to Lucille Cameron, a white girl, in Chicago, Mr. Roddenberry spewed forth much vitriol. “We see an African with much brutal force, with no moral character, with no stamina, entering the office of a legal officer in that city, and calling on him to issue—’to Jack Johnson!’—a marriage license to wed a young American woman of our own blood, our own race, our own color. The young officer is directed to issue to the brute a legal certificate permitting a white woman in these days to be bound in the wedlock of black slavery.” Black slavery! He went on and on and on, apparently, and it looks as though the papers printed most of it. “No blacker incubus ever fixed itself upon the social politics of this republic than the embryonic cancer of negro marriage to white people that has lately been in evidence,” he emitted, probably turning redder and redder. “No more voracious parasite ever sucked at the heart of pure society and moral status than the one which welcomes or recognizes everywhere the sacred ties of wedlock between Africa and America.” What a horrible man. I feel sorry for his wife.

Meanwhile, Senator Benjamin F. Shively of Indiana disdained ether and chloroform before an operation in which his toe was to be removed. Instead, while it was being cut off, he smoked a cigar. I expect he hopes to be shot on his way to a speaking engagement so that he may give a speech while a bullet is in his chest, just like Theodore Roosevelt.

The Courier-Herald consulted various Urbana residents and came to the conclusion that the temperature last night dipped below zero. The headline is “MERCURY LOSES STANDING LOCALLY,” and below that, it says, “Weather Indicator Tries to Sneak Out of Bottom of Tube.”

Monday, December 2, 1912

Champaign police raided two more bootlegging joints. The first, at 407 North Neil street, just north of the Beardsley hotel, belonged to Sam Lowry, a former drummer at the Walker opera house. Ten men were taken, including a prominent Champaign lawyer. The other raid was conducted at the home of Mattie Johnson, a negress, at 32 North Oak street, and five white men were arrested there.

“Owing to the fact that a large number of negroes employed on the construction work, have thrown up their jobs with the approach of cold weather, the Urbana & Kankakee Traction Company will employ white men exclusively from now on.”

In Minneapolis, two chorus girls from a burlesque house danced rag time dances on the platform of the pulpit of a church, illustrating the preacher’s sermon on “Praise Him With the Dance,” and the audience “fairly gasped at this. No matter how brazen, the dance was performed, the ‘turkey trot,’ the ‘crab crawl,’ the ‘tortoise tango,’ the ‘Jelly Wobble,’ ‘tangleworm wriggle,’ the ‘grizzly’ and all others known to these two girls of the stage.”

Three suffragettes were arrested in Aberdeen, Scotland, for attempting to kill David Lloyd-George, chancellor of the exchequer. One of the women had what she believed to be an infernal machine, which she intended to hurl at the man when he appeared to make a speech; but she had been duped, as the box contained only firecrackers, rather than the powerful explosive she expected. In any case she was found before she had a chance to throw it.

Tuesday, November 26, 1912

People were saying that James H. Sullivan, an Urbana plumbing contractor, had been killed yesterday by falling from a bridge at Danville—either by suicide, an accidental fall, or by driving his automobile off it. This morning’s Danville papers, however, made no mention of this, and when the police called Danville on the telephone, they were informed that no such accident had occurred. Sullivan had been missing since Thursday morning, and his brother had gone to look for him last night. “Sullivan turned up this afternoon, very much alive. He gave no explanation of his absence.” So there we have it: a rather large front-page article about Sullivan not being dead.

A tiny item from Harrisburg, buried in “Illinois News by Telegraph,” tells of someone who has died, though. “Mary Stroud, negress, who was accidentally shot in the pistol duel between Policeman Bud Tavender and Andrew Johnson in which Johnson was killed, died. The coroner’s jury exonerated Tavender in the death of Johnson.” How strange. Yesterday’s report of the incident called the woman Mary Baker, and I am not sure how they engaged in a “pistol duel” when all that Johnson had was a slungshot.

Monday, November 25, 1912

This news from Harrisburg, Illinois, struck me as somewhat odd: “In a duel with Andrew Johnson, a negro porter, and Night Patrolman Bud Tavender, the negro was shot three times and killed by the officer. Tavender suffered a scalp wound, inflicted by a slungshot, and Mary Baker, a negress, was shot in the abdomen and may die. The trouble started at a negro dance, where Johnson created several disturbances. Tavender was called in to quiet Johnson, who cursed the officer. Tavender arrested Johnson and started to jail with the prisoner, followed by many dancers. When near the public square someone struck at Tavender with a knife and Johnson felled the officer with a blow on the head with the slungshot. Tavender began firing at the fleeing negro, three shots taking effect in the breast and stomach. A stray bullet struck the Baker woman.”

Now, what I want to know is this: how can bullets strike a fleeing man “in the breast and stomach”?

Friday, November 15, 1912

The Pastime Club, a colored organization, held a public dance last night, but no one attended. “That mingling of the races in such a manner is held in disfavor both by whites and blacks is shown by the fact that members of neither race attended. Today the committee is trying to figure up the club’s deficit. Colonel Williams will have to shine a good many shoes, and Commodore Anderson will have to make a lot of trips with the hod to square the account.”

Margaret Lowry, who was attacked with a hammer here Wednesday evening, will recover. Physicians say there is no injury to her brain.

Weird surgical feats are being performed at the clinical congress of surgeons in session in New York. A man whose nose had been destroyed by an accident had it replaced with one of his fingers. A cat was made to live without its head, “as if the cat were only asleep with all its personality intact.” Dogs were killed and brought back to life. I am uncertain of the value of any of these experiments, to be honest.

Saturday, November 9, 1912

The entire Champaign police force raided Hattie Gara’s notorious maison de joie at 201 North Water street in Champaign last night. Mrs. Gara, nine male patrons, and five female inmates were taken to the station. The patrons, whose names are listed in the paper, settled this morning for $7.50 each; Mrs. Gara and her girls await a hearing, but the usual fine is $27.50 for the proprietor and $17.50 for each girl.

A hardware store and a grocery were burglarized last night, although not much loot was taken: six razors, several knives, and a shaving brush from the hardware store, and nothing at all from the grocery, although a window had been pried open. The police have sent to Danville for bloodhounds.

A woman brought two boys who had been shooting pigeons into the Urbana police station. “Chief of Police Lindstrum disarmed them, taking an air rifle from one and a ‘nigger-shooter‘ from the other.”

The University of Illinois has opened a new archaeological museum in Lincoln Hall. Many interesting things are there, including the head of an Egyptian mummy!

A Chicago woman, the wife of a Democratic committeeman, sat in her home all night, reading election returns. She remarked, “I am glad Wilson won, because he is a good man.” A moment later, she fell dead, probably from strain caused by the election.

And finally, a hydroaeroplane beat an automobile in a race from Omaha to New Orleans. “The flying machine showed its ability to go about three miles to the automobile’s one, except when the automobile was using the best of roads.”