Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gems from the Black Press: Arkansas Weekly Mansion

This article is part of a series  of articles whose purpose is to share each week an interesting article from early black publications of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As previously noted,the articles found inside of these long forgotten publications contain rich history that reflect  the early years of African America life in the first decades of freedom. Some are publications of fraternal or benevolent societies, and some were more community based. All  pieces shared in this series provide a close up to history and culture of times long past.

Today's Focus:

Arkansas Weekly Mansion
Editor's Notes

The Arkansas Weekly Mansion was a weekly publication based in Little Rock Arkansas. Like many African American publications, news from around the country pertaining to "the race" was often presented in the weekly editions. Ancestry has , one edition of this publication digitized. The issue is from 1883, and it presents an interesting glimpse of life around the country.

I looked at the column entitled "Editor's notes" and found a fascinating list of simple news bullets from around the nation. Image from the edition is here below, followed by a transcription of the notes.

Mrs. Mary A. Shadd Cary has graduated in law from Howard University. (Afro-American)

The board of bishops A.M.E. Church meets in Chicago June 27.

Cadet Whitaker’s father died recently in Kershaw County, South Carolina.

Mr. Theodore Sterrett, father of the wife of historian George W. Williams, died recently in Minneapolis Minn. He was formerly barber at the Galt House, Louisville Kentucky.

James T. Rapier, formerly a member of Congress, died in Montgomery Alabama, May 31.

Mr. McCabe, the colored state auditor of Kansas, is conducting his office with great credit to himself and profit to the state.

Dr. Jenifer writes to the Christian Recorder, that he has cancelled the $10,000 on the Charles Street and the $666 mortgage on the old Anderson street churches.

A large mass meeting of the citizens of Louisville has endorsed the meeting of the convention in that city, and pledged a “generous Kentucky welcome” to all comers.

Chicago has two colored medical graduates this year—Messrs. D.  H. Williams, and J. W. Henderson. There is a colored section boss names Washington Turner, in the employ of the Illinois Central railroad, who has a working gang of sixty-five colored men.

Thomas F. Cassells, colored has entered on his duty as collector on the port of Memphis.

John H. Alexander, the colored youth recently appointed cadet at West Point, from Ohio, is son of an old man “Jim” Alexander formerly of Helena Ark., and well known to the citizens of the state. James M. Alexander Sr. was a member of the legislature in Clayton times.

The state teacher’s association meets at the operahouseat (sic)the capitol June 27, 28, & 29. A fine programme (sic) will be presented.  

The colored men of the Cherokee nation have protested against the recent action of the Cherokee nation in declaring that the large amount of money received from the government shall be distributed only to Cherokees by blood.

Judge Gedders, democratic candidate for governor of Ohio, held a competitive examination at Elyrea (sic) for appointment to a cadetship at West Point, which resulted (see remaining text below)

in a tie. The Judge requested that the two candidates shall be re-examined at West Point with the understanding that the winner will get the appointment. The winner, a colored student from Oberlin, named Alexander was appointed. “The world do move.”

J. S. Harris city editor of the Kansas City Enterprise is compiling a book to be entitled, “The Prominent Colored Men of the West.”

Rev. J.W. Asbury, a colored minister is nominated for registrar of state lands in Kentucky.
George Bentley, (col.), porter of the Fourth National Bank of Grand Rapids Mich., recently robbed the bank of $1500.

The richest colored man in America is Mr. Aristide Marie of New Orleans who owns several large stores opposite the custom house, and has a yearly income of $50,000. He spends (illegible text)
(partially illegible paragraph…)

…We have received a copy of (illegible)…called “Poetic Gems” by R (? Text not visible) Attorney at law, Charlotte, (illegible). It contains a number of poems, (Illegible) etc. by the author, some of decided merit.

The Grand Lodge of Colored Freemasons of Georgia, has purchased a site on Gwinnett Street, Savannah, and proposes to erect a “fine three-story temple”. The cornerstone will be laid June 25th.

J. H. H. Longstark, of the Savannah Echo, translates the annexed from the Georgia Familiar Journal:  The present negro population of the United States is between 6,500.000 and 7,000,000. They have increased during the last decade thirty-five percent. If the white population is not increased by emigration, and the colored people keep on at this rate, the negro will have at the end of one hundred years from now a majority of 12,000,000.

Messrs. Palesser, Paleser, & Co., of Bridgeport Conn., have lately issued a sheet containing plans and specifications for a handsome modern six or eight room cottage, which is worth examining by anyone intending to build. The same firm furnishes specifications in blank for any class of residence which are of great practical value and convenience.

Hon. Wm. T. Brown formerly Superintendent of Education in Louisiana died at New Orleans May 15.

Mr. Tully Con, a great under-ground R.R. man in the olden times died in St. Francis Co., recently.

In the New York Globe, Col. Williams, the historian moves that “an American Negro Historical Society” be created. We second the motion.

As can be noticed, the editor often made his own remarks about observations that he shared from other publications. His remarks made after the small piece about the young Alexander being appointed to West Point speaks to the sentiment of the editor and the readership: "The world, do move." Following the suggestion of historian Col. Williams who suggested that a national historical society be formed, a "Negro Historical Society" again the editor voiced his own sentiment: "We second the motion."

As a researcher who also studies Oklahoma and Indian Territory history I was pleased to see an article reflecting the voices of protest expressed by Cherokee Freedmen, regarding their treatment by the Cherokee Nation by a move to exclude them from national funds, based on color. And the information about the young man who earned the appointment at West Point encourages me to pursue more details about the young man, and to see if more can be learned of his career.

Items such as these tiny snippets from the early Black press, provide a closer glimpse into the lives of our forefathers and mothers and the readers can glean a sense of pride seldom reflected in other pieces from the press in the same era.