Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: racism

Thursday, November 7, 1912

An unknown negro shot “Red Ben” Barnett in the arm at Woody Mathews’ pool room on Market street in Champaign. “Red Ben” is a notorious bootlegger who was recently ordered to leave the Twin Cities and never return.

The Progressive party intends to put up candidates in every district for the 1914 election, when a new house of representatives will be elected. Said Colonel Roosevelt, “The Progressive party has superseded the Republican party. All we need to do is to keep steadily on with the fight and we will win.” Fight, fight, fight. Reading all of this news just makes it clear to me that politics is too important to be left in the hands of the men.


Monday, October 28, 1912

“A telephone lineman known to the authorities by no other name than ‘Turk,’ is being held by the Champaign police for suspected implication in a burglary at the Co-op. store on Wright street, early this morning, but because of the bungling of Ed. Lee, negro constable, it is very doubtful where a charge can be made to stick.” Constable Lee saw ‘Turk’ walking back in forth in front of the building at 3 o’clock and suspected he was acting as “look-out” during a burglary. He arrested the man and took him to the city prison, leaving several students on guard at the Co-op. The students let the burglars get away.

The worst fire in Champaign in years destroyed the textile factory at the corner of Green and Neil streets early yesterday morning. About one hundred workers are now out of employment. No one knows how the blaze started.

Finally, a local Methodist preacher believes that he is the target of a Mormon conspiracy, and he has taken out a large advertisement in the paper in order to state his concerns.

Friday, October 25, 1912

“President Taft will speak on national political issues at the court house in Urbana tonight. His address will be given in conjunction with that of Hon. John J. Brown of Vandalia. The latter will be here in person, but the president will not. His speech will be communicated by means of phonographic records, received today by the local republican committee.” Three colored women, sent by the National Progressive Bureau, will speak and sing at progressive headquarters in Champaign on Saturday night.

A mass meeting of university students will be held in the auditorium tonight to attempt to save football. It has been arranged by students, and every student will be asked to pledge not to riot. “It is believed that the orgie at the Walker opera house, Saturday night, struck the game a death blow and that nothing but an heroic effort will revive it.”

Sunday, October 20, 1912

The new comic act at the Walker Theater is a “militant English suffragette” armed with a huge mallet, who sings a song and makes a speech. Also at the Walker is “The Village Lockup” (a sketch of rural life), the minstrels Moore and Browning, and the Kuma Japs.

Apparently there was a student riot at the opera house following the Illini football win, but the front page of Papa’s Daily Illini is missing today. I imagine there will be something in the Courier-Herald tomorrow about the riot.

Aunt Jemima at the White House

This alarming ad appeared in the Urbana Courier-Herald on October 15, 1912.

Thursday, October 10, 1912

Two locomotive injuries are in the paper today. A man attempted to mount a moving Wabash engine, which had just started after a stop at the gas house crossing in Champaign, and fell beneath it, his leg being crushed off below the knee. He is in the Julia F. Burnham hospital, where he is reported to be in satisfactory condition.

A colored Pullman porter was alarmed by a crowd shouting what he took to be threats, when in actuality they were warning him of an approaching engine. “I heerd folks hollerin’ at me and it seemed dey wuz sayin’, ‘Ketch dat coon!—ketch ‘im! Dar he goes!’ Now it appears dat what dey sho’ nuff said was, ‘Look out for de keers, you blame fool niggah.” He was examined by a company surgeon, found to have a badly bruised hip, and taken to the poor farm.

There are rumors that a prize fight has been held, or may be held, in a barn near Mayview. Sheriff Davis is on the alert.

Garry Nordo, of Fifth and Vine streets in Champaign, has been “persecuted through some mysterious agency” for some time now. Last night a set of harness was stolen from his barn, and that was the last straw for Mr. Nordo. He sent to Paxton for a bloodhound, and this afternoon the hound (the charge of Deputy Sheriff Sid Cool) and a large crowd are on the trail of the “Black Hand,” which so far has led to north Race street in Urbana, near the city limits.

Monday, October 7, 1912

A colored man was decapitated by a train on Saturday night. “Alighting from the southbound train, Weeks became confused and stepped directly in front of an approaching locomotive. The wheels passed over his neck, completely severing the head, which rolled to one side of the track in a ghastly manner.” This unfortunate man had been working in Kankakee and was returning to his family in New Orleans.

Saturday, October 5, 1912

Woodie Mathews, “well known colored shoe shiner,” is building a $10,000 three-story building at 502 East Green street in Champaign. “Woodie is the magnate of the shining art in Champaign, having conducted two establishments for the past eight years.”

Theater ushers are able to procure many free bonbons and chocolates. “At an interesting climax the emotional matinee girl forgets her candy box and lets it slide to the floor with several pieces sticking in the corners. Immediately after the performance all enterprising ushers search the house for discarded sweets.”

In Chicago, a kitten went to sleep on top of a baby and suffocated the child “by sucking the breath from its mouth.” The mother “had feared this accident would happen to her child.” This sounds like bunkum to me. After all, the newspaper did say last week that Roosevelt would visit town, when no such thing was even planned.

Addendum: September 26, 1912

Also in today’s paper is a shockingly racist article (by 2012 standards) about a local domestic violence case: “Comedy Enacted in Police Court.”

Friday, September 13, 1912

Lewis Stone and family returned to their home west of Tolono last night and found a maniac there. “The man, a huge fellow, about sixty-five years old, repelled their attempts to enter, screaming that he owned the place, that he had built it up in the wilderness and that no one could take it from him.” The family ran to a neighbor’s and telephoned for help, and a posse subdued the “wild man.”

Milton Bass, “the negro who stole Dr. J. D. Mandeville’s horse and buggy some time ago,” says he plans to plead guilty in circuit court on Saturday. The prisoner is suffering from a “loathsome constitutional disease,” and his jailors are anxious to be rid of him before he dies in jail.

People here are talking about cremation, because a Champaign physician directed that his remains should be cremated after his death. It is sanitary, and there is no need to purchase and maintain a cemetery plot. Although cremation is growing in favor in larger cities, many people regard it as barbarous.

And finally, the Monte Carlo girls burlesque company was said to have behaved admirably last night at the Illinois, “even foregoing the Salome dance, which is calculated to climax the show and send everybody home in a dizzy state.” A fellow named Izzy was part of the show, and apparently he was not so naughty as in times past. “Izzy used to be a tough duck but has improved in more genteel company.”