Related Links 1878
Blast From The Past:
OUR HAMITE AWARD WINNER FOR 1878:
Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor
Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor was a black cyclist who won the world one-mile track cycling championship in 1899 after setting numerous world records and overcoming racial discrimination. African Americans just couldn't catch a break from all the racism stuff. It had to be very draining. Taylor was better received in Europe than his own country.
Taylor was the son of Gilbert Taylor, who was a Civil War veteran, and Saphronia Kelter, who had packed up the family, moving from Louisville, Kentucky, to a farm in rural Indiana.
Taylor had seven brothers and sisters. Taylor's father worked for some liberal white folks who went by the name Southards. The Southards didn't mind the dad bringing young Major to work on occasion, even letting their boy who was the same age play together. In time Taylor and the Southards boy grew very close. Being in a rural area, they were probably far away from all that racial garbage and got along just fine.
The Southards liked Major Taylor so much that they let him move in. This is when Taylor picked up his edge because he was able to learn under a healthy and decent environment. This living arrangement lasted from when he was 8-12 years old. The Southards moved to Chicago and Taylor "was soon thrust into the real world."
At age 12, Taylor received his first bicycle from the Southards and became such an expert trick rider that a local bike shop owner, Tom Hay, hired him to stage exhibitions and perform cycling stunts outside his bicycle shop. The compensation was $6 a week, plus a free bike worth $35. Taylor performed the stunts wearing a soldier's uniform, hence the nickname "Major."
Major Taylor won his first significant race in 1895 at age 16. The seventy-five miles road race, near his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, "came amid the racial threats of his white competitors." As an African-American, Taylor was banned from bicycle racing in Indiana once he started winning and made a reputation as "The Black Cyclone." In 1896, he moved from Indianapolis to Worcester, Mass
Major Taylor turned professional in 1896 at the age of 18 and soon emerged as the "most formidable racer in America." One of his biggest supporters was President Theodore Roosevelt who kept track of Taylor throughout his 17-year racing career.
Major Taylor took the cyclist world by storm and was well known and respected by the foreigners as a fierce competitor, but his fellow Americans were afraid to race him. He was constantly picked on. During his career, he had ice water thrown at him during races, and nails scattered in front of his wheels and were often boxed in by other riders, preventing the sprints to the front of the pack at which he was so successful. On one occasion another rider choked him into unconsciousness but received only a $50 fine as punishment.
Nevertheless, he didn't dwell on these events, and it's evident that he was serving as an inspiration to other African-Americans trying to overcome similar treatment.
Taylor retired at age 32 in 1910, saying he was tired of the racism. His advice to African-American youths wishing to emulate him was that while bicycle racing was the appropriate route to success for him, he would not recommend it in general; and that individuals must find their own best talent.
Major Taylor married Daisy V. Morris in Ansonia, Connecticut, on March 21, 1902. While in Australia in 1904, Taylor and his wife had a daughter whom they named Sydney, in honor of the city in which she was born.
Major Taylor was still breaking records in 1908, but age was starting to "creep up on him." He finally quit the track in 1910 at the age of 32.
Taylor made significant money but sadly lost it all to bad investments. He died poor at age 53 on June 21, 1932, and was buried in an unmarked grave. Later bicycle maker Frank W. Schwinn heard about the Taylor story and located and moved his gravesite to a more prominent part of Mount Glenwood Cemetery. A monument to his memory stands in his honor and reads:
"Dedicated to the memory of Marshall W. 'Major' Taylor, 1878-1932. World's champion bicycle racer who came up the hard way without hatred in his heart, an honest, courageous and God-fearing, clean-living, gentlemanly athlete. Credit to the race who always gave out his best. Gone but not forgotten." Inscription on bronze marker on gravestone paid for by Frank W. Schwinn.
How touching this man's story is. Movie material I would say, and guaranteed a box office smash! 1878 brought into the world a very honorable man in the person of Marshall W. 'Major' Taylor. Even through all the unnecessary discrimination, can you guess how he felt about his perpetrators? Well actually throughout recorded history, it's a recurring quality of African Americans, he was quoted as saying:
"Life is too short for any man to hold bitterness in his heart" Young people, please pay attention and learn from this man's attitude, don't let anyone take your joy by hating, because that takes energy, NEGATIVE ENERGY which will destroy you.
We are sincerely overwhelmed with emotion in awarding this exceptional individual the 1878 Hamite Award which is given to those who inspire others, and we can certainly say, Marshall W. 'Major' Taylor accomplished just that. Amazing!
Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor
Major Taylor racing in Paris in 1908
|How were blacks feeling in 1878?
This world is really changing fast. Now America is talking about letting women vote, which would be amazing! But I don't know if it would do much good for the black women, especially in the south because of those terrorist Democrat KKK who will come up with every little trick they can think of to keep us away from the voting booths. The Federal troops are gone and who is there to protect us? We are at their mercy.
With our recent experiences with the white men of the North, it's kind of funny how people of the same race can be so different and at the same time so similar. We found out that the white southern men, even though many are highly educated tend to be more boorish, unrefined, and clueless men, with the northern men highly intelligent, more sophisticated, tolerant, and aware. But it's interesting to note that both don't want an actual relationship with their American black brother, the southerner is more up-front about it.
This dang depression is still going on, but something inside tells me it's going to be Okay, and America will begin to shine as bright as ever. Many immigrants are beginning to enter our country, so it must be bad all over the world. Africans weren't the only ones who let their citizens down. It all boils down to money, a few have it, but most don't.
On a lighter side, I just tried this new jelly that's amazing. It made my skin so soft and shone so much. They call it vaseline , and it was just put in the stores this year. My smart alec daughter told me that it looked like I had so much grease on my face that she could fry some eggs on it. I proceeded to swat her down right then and there, that ain't no way to talk to your mama gurl! now pass me the salt and pepper.
For the year 1878:
- Sergeant Horatio Julius Homer was the first African-American police officer in Boston, Massachusetts.
- John W. "Bud" Fowler was the first African-American baseball player in organized professional baseball.
- Marie Selika Williams was the first African-American woman entertainer to perform at the White House.
Octavius Valentine Catto
Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor
John W. "Bud" Fowler
| Sports in 1878 |
- Blacks were not accepted into the league baseball games, so they started their teams, becoming professional by the the 1870s. The first known baseball game between two black teams was held on November 15, 1859, in New York City. The Henson Base Ball Club of Jamaica, Queens, defeated the Unknowns of Weeksville, Brooklyn, 54 to 43.
By the end of the 1860s, the black baseball mecca was Philadelphia, which had an African-American population of 22,000. Two former cricket players, James H. Francis and Francis Wood, formed the Pythian Base Ball Club. They played in Camden, New Jersey, at the landing of the Federal Street Ferry, because it is hard to get permits for black baseball games in the city. Octavius Catto, the promoter of the Pythians, decided to apply for membership in the National Association of Base Ball Players, typically a matter of sending delegates to the annual convention; beyond that, a formality.
At the end of the 1867 season "the National Association of Baseball Players voted to exclude any club with a black player." In some ways Blackball thrived under segregation, with the few black teams of the day playing not only each other but white teams as well. "Black teams earned the bulk of their income playing white independent 'semipro' clubs."
- The mistreatment and segregation of Blacks didn't only happen in the South, but also the Northern cities like Philadelphia.
- Octavius Valentine Catto was a black educator, intellectual, and civil rights activist in Philadelphia. As a man, he also became known as a top cricket and black baseball pioneer in 19th-century Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor was an African American cyclist champion who was born in this year. He would go on to face may racial barriers, but handled them all with class and honor in achieving his goals.
- The first known professional black baseball player was Bud Fowler, who appeared in a handful of games with a Chelsea, Massachusetts club in April 1878 and then pitched for the Lynn, Massachusetts team in the International Association.
- 1878 - Jockey William Walker was the winning rider aboard Ten Broeck in a famous July 4, 1878, match race at Louisville, Kentucky, against the great California mare, Mollie McCarty.
|| Famous African American Quotes |
Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor - African American cyclist champion
"Now a few words of advice to boys, and especially to those of my own race, my heart goes out to them as they face life's struggles. I can hardly express in words my deep feeling and sympathy for them, know as I do, the many serious handicaps and obstacles that will confront them in almost every walk of life. However, I pray they will carry on in spite of that dreadful monster prejudice, and with patience, courage, fortitude and perseverance achieve success for themselves. I trust they will use that terrible prejudice as an inspiration to struggling on to the heights in their chosen vocations. There will always be that dreadful monster prejudice to do extra battle against because of their color."
Education of Slaves
| Education in 1878 |
- 1878 - School attendance on the rise for African-Americans.
Compromise of 1877
A political cartoon by Joseph Keppler depicts Roscoe Conkling as a character Mephistopheles (the devil) while Rutherford B. Hayes strolls off with the prize of the "Solid South" depicted as a woman.
The caption quotes Goethe: "Unto that Power he doth belong Which only doeth Right while ever willing Wrong." photo #101
Rutherford B. Hayes
| Political Scene in 1878 |
Analysis: In the presidential election, Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden , but he won an intensely disputed electoral college vote after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty contested electoral votes. Reminds us of contender Al Gore who won the popular vote but lost out to George Bush with the electoral in modern times. We wonder if these two men secretly compromised on anything. The great compromise of 1877 was because of a hotly contested Presidential election results. The black person was on the bargaining table and lost out to white Southerners who wanted to keep the Negro in its place and would remain that way until the Civil Rights movement of the 60s. They didn't want to see anything close to Negro success. The Democrats and Republicans secretly made a deal or a compromise they would give Hayes the win in the election if Reconstruction aid for the black person was halted, and guess what? It was. Perhaps the black person at this point is getting accustomed to these elected officials and their shenanigans. But this deal here was a horrible blow to blacks. It had to defeat and demoralize many.
- 1878 - Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th President of the United States (1877–1881). As president, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction, began the efforts that led to civil service reform, and attempted to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction.
"Colored Waiting Room" sign from
segregationist era United Statesbr> photo #100 -year-1878
| Race in 1878 |
- United States Supreme court rules that race separation on trains unconstitutional.
"It is worthy of emphasis, that the antiquity of the Negro race is beyond dispute. His brightest days were when history was an infant; and, since he early turned from God, he has found the cold face of hate and the hurtful hand of the Caucasian against him."
George Washington Williams
How did it begin?
It's a worldwide negative perception of blacks.
Well, a quick and straightforward trip back in history will get the likely answer. The Arab trade of Zanj (Bantu) slaves in Southeast Africa predated the European transatlantic slave trade by 700 years but it wasn't until the Portuguese sailed to West Africa in search of gold and discovered something much more valuable, (slaves) and shared with the world what they encountered that aided in the bad rap on blacks.
During the transatlantic slave trade the African empires of Benin, Dahomey, and Yoruba were very powerful. From these kingdoms, more than from any other part of Africa were the people sold into American slavery.
These kingdoms had many districts with different tribes and clans who always fought against each other. These tribes were illiterate without a written form, passing their history to the next generation orally. They were blissfully ignorant of the world around them. As with all people of a tribal nature, they lived within the limits and respect of the land and were very content in doing so.
Europeans considered the Africans pagans because most tribes were involved with witchcraft, idol worship, cannibalism, superstition, female genital mutilation, and human sacrifices just to name a few of their foolish practices. Europeans thought of themselves as being illuminators to the world made in the image of God which in their minds was white and holy.
Before Christianity took place in Europe, whites believed in a different form of worship which was called mythology, but in time came to their senses with the help of a man named Thales who would later become known as the father of science. Thales was the first person in human history to dispel mythology and would usher in a new way of thinking which was based on facts which in its beginning was called Natural philosophy, and later would be called science. Science would eventually take mythology's place in the way white people believed. Goodbye Jupiter and Neptune.
Thales studied, recorded and compared facts laying the foundation for science. In time, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle would go on to perfect the methods of science. Over the centuries with this wealth of new knowledge discoveries with the aid of science, you can probably imagine how this had to elevate the Europeans ego and self-worth in themselves.
Before long they would claim white superiority, and many began even to doubt the existence of a God. So by the time the Portuguese made their arrival to Africa, they were smarter and better educated than blacks and of course dominated as they pleased.
Africans were still living in the past in a fast changing world and were no match for the very greedy and violent Europeans. Africans had seen the last of their glory days. It's a documented fact the Africans were the beginning of human innovation. Other races would go on to copy and perfect their existing creations, scientifically.
If you study ancient history and technological achievements which were in many ways the equal of, or superior of, much that we have today, were founded and carried to a high technological proficiency by Hamitic (African) people. This is the role in history given by God to the descendants of Ham. The Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Mayans, the Aztecs, all were Hamitic people. They were the great inventors of mankind. http://www.ldolphin.org/ntable.html
Why were the African people a no-show in technological discoveries other nations around the world were experiencing?
It wasn't because Africans weren't capable of learning. Type the key phrase into Google "African immigrants in college" you will discover the same lineage of Sub-Saharan Africans today out-perform all races in America's colleges academically. Skin color doesn't matter when it comes to learning; it was because of conditions beyond their control.
Africans couldn't share and contribute information with other nations during this period because of one humongous roadblock. The Sahara Desert. The entire continental United States would fit inside the Sahara Desert with plenty of room to spare. This desert spanned from west to east of Northern Africa and continued to grow, making it very dangerous and challenging for travel.
Sub Saharan Africans were landlocked, lost in time away from all other humanity. The Sahara Desert wasn't always a desert, but slowly grew to be that way. Cave drawings have been discovered in parts of the Sahara that actually depict the flora as green and thriving. http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/history_of_west_africa
So with Portuguese arriving in Africa with their advanced knowledge they encountered a people lost in time and because of their tribal culture and erroneous Pre-Adamic belief the Portuguese had about black people, these people were labeled ignorant wild beast, incapable of learning and the world agreed.
The Africans had a reputation as a peaceful and lovable people and were considered easy pickings by ruthless and brilliant Europeans who extended no mercy.
With their love for science, whites would constantly compare themselves with blacks. They collectively studied the Negro from the kinks in his hair, size of his brain to the jam in his toenails and declared themselves superior to this lowly ape-like creature.
They believed Africans were the descendants of pre-Adamism races and that the White race was made in the image and likeness of God and that Adam gave birth to the White race only.
They also believed and taught that blacks are not human beings but pre-Adamite beasts and could not possibly have been made in God's image and likeness because they are beastlike, immoral and ugly. Whites also claimed that the pre-Adamite races such as blacks didn't have souls. The world would be satisfied with their scientific theory they learned with the help of a blatant and racist media. Whites accepted these lies as truth and raised their kids to do the same.
Science, pre-Adamite beliefs, and the media would go on to replace common sense. According to whites, it was the destiny of these black beast to serve whites, and they believed they had God's backing. Some of the things they wrote as fact about the Negro would go on to cause many innocent deaths.
Typical American Newspaper Article Of Yesteryear
The above article was an editorial reply to another editor that was published in the Cayton's weekly., January 25, 1919, (Seattle, Wash.)
More than anything else science, pre-adamite beliefs and the racist media played an enormous role which perpetuated the negative image of blacks all over the world. The saddest part was when many blacks would believe these false teachings and felt unworthy, ugly and completely worthless as human beings and lived their lives in a useless way and the process was reinforcing these negative views.
Once in America the following comment gives insight into how whites viewed the Negro in the 1700s during colonial days.
Speaking on the duties of missionaries in converting the Negro to Christianity in 1784, Bishop Porteus published an extensive plan for the most effectual conversion of the slaves contending that
"despicable as they are in the eyes of man they are, nevertheless, the creatures of God."
When slaves first arrived in America, it wasn't quite agreed what their social status would be because it was supposed to be only temporary until white immigrants could come from other countries to take their place, but it didn't happen that way. This is when slavery slowly became associated with dark skin. Everybody jumped on the bandwagon against the lowly Negro who was considered inhuman and a savage beast.
But because it was later discovered that blacks were capable of learning, it made some bright whites change their negative view, except for white slavemasters who had a financial interest in keeping the Negro uneducated and made it a felony for anyone caught teaching them.
Real Americans soon began to realize blacks were human beings just as they were and started movements to free them from the bondage of slavery.
Writers of that day cite desirable characteristics of blacks, saying they were deeply religious, cheerful, imaginative, patient, courageous, had high physical endurance, affectionate and without vindictiveness, even though living under a brutal slavery system. They hated slavery, but always kept hope alive, waiting for their Judgement Day.
When their Judgement day arrived, how did slaves act once freed?
Imagine if you spent your entire existence depending and working from dusk to dawn for someone else and suddenly set free.
How would you do?
Who would teach you to read and write, the importance of family, morality, open a bank account, manage your money, how to distinguish between necessity and want, how to keep your house maintained, the importance of honesty in personal and business dealings, how to think big and become self-reliant with confidence and the many more life skills that's needed in society? All would agree that these are crucial life skills to master that the Negro didn't have during slavery.
Well, needless to say, many former slaves didn't measure up after freedom, wasting their lives with pleasure seeking and absolutely no ambition at all. These people gave the whole race a bad rap and continued to do so until this day.
But most wanted to learn these life skills and progress. That's why the Reconstruction schools of the 1870s were so important; it was like a halfway or transition house for the blacks into American culture. But of course we know that the U.S. government did away with Reconstruction in 1877 because of pressure from white southerners who didn't want educated blacks in America.
Our achievements have been many since then, so why does the negative image of blacks persist?
It's simple. The negative image of blacks persists around the world because of a lack of compassion and love mainly from non-black people. Even though erroneous beliefs of science and pre-Adamic theories happened centuries ago, hard habits are hard to break. It's entrenched in the hearts of many.
That's really sad, but as American citizens today, how are blacks doing?
Well under the circumstances blacks are doing a fantastic job, and it's a wonder we are still around. We as African-Americans are honing our life skills with increasing precision without the same network or support groups that other races enjoy. We are a unique type of people that don't have a reference point but must learn as we go.
Quite frankly, we are true Americans who continue to accomplish our goals non-violently and completely understand what the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence stands for. Would other races been able to do the same? We are love, always have been and always will be.
Historically, after being raped, tortured, lynched and murdered with perpetrators enjoying total impunity, the usual reply of blacks were these words, "I forgive you." Even though made out to be the violent savage beast, blacks seldom retaliated. It's true, check your history books. We live for today and as Americans realizing we have this excellent opportunity to excel and soar like the eagles, and we will!
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a white officer in the Union army had the task of training colored soldiers in the Civil War. He kept a diary for our enjoyment today. (click here)
George W. Williams - History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. (click here)
Europeans Come to Western Africa -
The Characteristics of the Negro People -
Movies in America
Anna Madah Hyers dressed as 'Urlina' in the opera Urlina the African Princess (1879)
| Musicals / Movies in 1878 |
- The Hyers Sisters, Anna Madah and Emma Louise were singers and pioneers of black musical theater. With Joseph Bradford and Pauline Hopkins, the Hyers Sisters produced the "first full-fledged musical plays... in which African Americans themselves comment on the plight of the slaves and the relief of Emancipation without the disguises of minstrel comedy." Their first play was Out of Bondage (also known as Out of the Wilderness) which premiered in 1876.
The Hyers Sisters under the management of their proud father not only toured in America but internationally. As small children, the father had them classically trained by German professor Hugo Sank and later opera singer Josephine D'Ormy and they performed for private parties before making their professional stage debut. They were very well received everywhere they performed and blazed a path for other black entertainers to follow. They traveled until the mid-1880s with their own shows and continued to appear on stage into the 1890s. Wow, absolutely amazing blacks!
Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor
Nannie Helen Burroughs
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
| Famous Birthdays in 1878 |
- March 31, 1878 - Jack Johnson nicknamed the Galveston Giant, was an African American boxer, and the first black heavyweight champion of the world.
- May 2, 1878 - Nannie Helen Burroughs was an African-American educator, orator, religious leader, civil rights activist, feminist and businesswoman.
- May 25, 1878 - Bill "Bojangles" Robinson was an American tap dancer and actor, the best known and most highly paid African American entertainer in the first half of the twentieth century.
- July 5, 1878 - Jesse Max Barber was an African-American journalist, teacher and dentist.
- November 20, 1878 - Charles Sidney Gilpin became one of the most highly regarded actors of the 1920s.
- November 26, 1878 - Marshall Walter "Major" Taylor was an American cyclist who won the world one mile track cycling championship in 1899 after setting numerous world records and overcoming racial discrimination.
- December 15, 1878 - Kathryn Magnolia Johnson was an African American political activist.
|| Famous African American Quotes |
Jack Johnson - the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion
"As I grew up, the white boys were my friends and my pals. I ate with them, played with them and slept at their homes. Their mothers gave me cookies, and I ate at their tables. No one ever taught me that white men were superior to me."
| Famous Weddings in 1878 |
- June 24, 1878 - Senator Blanche Kelso Bruce and Josephine Beal Wilson were wed in holy matrimony. The couple traveled to Europe for a four-month honeymoon.
- 1878 - African-American anti-slavery activist, poet Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten Grimké and Francis J. Grimké were wed in holy matrimony.
Plantation scenarios were common in black minstrelsy, as shown here in this poster for Callender's Colored Minstrels.
During the Civil War, Thomas Wentworth Higginson served as colonel of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, the first federally authorized black regiment, from 1862–1864. Following the war, Higginson devoted much of the rest of his life to fighting for the rights of freed slaves, women and other disfranchised peoples.
John Brown Song
James Monroe Trotter
| Music in 1878 |
Musical Happenings in 1878:
- The 1870s was a decade where the only way to obtain music was on sheet music sold in stores. People would sit at the piano and sing.
- James Monroe Trotter a multi-talented man wrote a book entitled Music and Some Highly Musical People, published in 1878. It is the first comprehensive study of music ever written in the United States. It is still used by students of music history and those interested in tracing the origins of music in the United States, especially African-American music.
- One or two African-American troupes dominated the scene for much of the late 1860s and 1870s. The first of these was Brooker and Clayton's Georgia Minstrels, who played the Northeast around 1865. Sam Hague's Slave Troupe of Georgia Minstrels formed shortly thereafter and toured England to great success beginning in 1866. In the 1870s, white entrepreneurs bought most of the successful black companies. Charles Callender obtained Sam Hague's troupe in 1872 and renamed it Callender's Georgia Minstrels. They became the most popular black troupe in America, and the words Callender and Georgia came to be synonymous with the institution of black minstrelsy.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson:
- Thomas Wentworth Higginson leads the First South Carolina Colored Volunteers, the first group of authorized African American soldiers. Higginson is a notable author who helps popularize many aspects of African American music. He contributed to the preservation of Negro spirituals by copying dialect verses and music he heard sung around the regiment's campfires.
John Brown's Song:
- is a United States marching song about the abolitionist John Brown. The song was popular in the Union during the American Civil War.
"Juba Juba", a popular song about the Juba:
Juba dis and Juba dat,
and Juba killed da yellow cat,
You sift the meal and ya gimme the husk,
you bake the bread and ya gimme the crust,
you eat the meat and ya gimme the skin,
and that's the way,
my mama's troubles begin
A song about the hambone from Step it Down (v.s.):
Hambone Hambone pat him on the shoulder
If you get a pretty girl, I'll show you how to hold her.
Hambone, Hambone, where have you been?
All 'round the world and back again.
Hambone, Hambone, what did you do?
I got a train and I fairly flew.
Hambone, Hambone where did you go?
I hopped up to Miss Lucy's door.
I asked Miss Lucy would she marry me.
(falsetto)"Well I don't care if Papa don't care!"
First come in was Mister Snake,
He crawled all over that wedding cake.
Next walked in was Mister Tick,
He ate so much it made him sick.
Next walked in was Mister Coon,
We asked him to sing us a wedding tune,
Popular Soul Dances:
- The Juba or Hambone dance was originally from West Africa. It became an African-American plantation dance that was performed by slaves during their gatherings when no rhythm instruments were allowed due to fear of secret codes hidden in the drumming.
- Virginia Essence
- Buck & Wing
- Tap Dancing
- Soft Shoe
Fashions for young African American women
Fashions for young African American women
Stylish clothes for African American men
Couples attending the Negro Labor Convention
Illustration from Harper's Weekly The person who drew this Illustration was kind to black people. Usually during that time period they would portray the Negro with wild hair and humongous noses with exaggerated lips. They made us look normal. Thank you Harper's.
Couples attending the Negro Labor Convention
Illustration from Harper's Weekly
Couples attending the Negro Labor Convention
Illustration from Harper's Weekly
The Black Victorians (Victorian Era 1800s-1900s)
| Fashions in 1878 |
- For women by 1870, fullness in the skirt had moved to the rear, where elaborately draped overskirts were held in place by tapes and supported by a bustle. This fashion required an underskirt, which was heavily trimmed with pleats, flounces, rouching, and frills.
- Innovations in men's fashion of the 1870s included the acceptance of patterned or figured fabrics for shirts and the general replacement of neckties tied in bow knots with the four-in-hand and later the Ascot tie.
- Infants continued to be dressed in flowing gowns, a style that continued into the early twentieth century. Gender dress changes often did not occur until a child was five or six. As the girls got older, they wore longer skirts. A four-year-old would wear her skirt at knee length; ten to twelve at mid-calf; and by sixteen, the girls dress would be ankle length. Boys often dressed similar to adult males, as they too wore blazers and Norfolk jackets.
Yeow!, Slavery is Finally Over!|
It's smooth sailing ahead
We can't wait to get out in the workforce to make our own money
What type of employment awaits us in the 1800s?
90% of Negroes still lived in the South up until the late 1910s. Blacks looking for work in the South mainly worked on the land they lived. Most were tenant farmers that did contract work on a farm by farm basis. Some blacks were hired just for a particular job and once the job was over had to find employment elsewhere. They would work and harvest the field for the season and pay the owner out of their profits for room and board and use of farming tools.
Some but not many blacks also worked in manufacturing, and for the most part were paid comparable wages as their white counterparts. However, blacks were much less likely to hold better-paying skilled jobs, and they were more liable to work for lower-paying companies.
If blacks were not working on farms, they were engaged in unskilled labor and service jobs. They were unable to afford their homes. Because of the crazy events unfolding with voter intimidations and outright murders by the KKK, with total impunity and the total disregard for assistance from American presidents, and the end of Reconstruction help. Most black children had not attended school in the year before the Census was taken, and white children were much more likely to have attended.
Immediately after the emancipation blacks were very eager to learn, school attendance was sky high, but unfolding events that were perpetrated or voted on in approval by white citizens demoralized many blacks at this point in history before the turn of the century, and don't forget the effects of damaging Jim Crows laws which were about to formally get underway.
So a typical look at the African American family at the end of the 1800s Census lived and worked on a farm in the South and did not own their home, and children in these families were unlikely to be in school even at very young ages.
Blacks also found employment in the mining industry, which was very dangerous work. In 1883, thousands of European immigrants and a large number of African Americans migrated to southern West Virginia to work in coal mines. These coal miners worked in company mines with company tools and equipment, which they were required to lease. Along with these expenses, the miners have deducted pay for housing rent and items they purchased from company stores. Furthermore, the coal companies went as far as creating their monetary system so the miners could only shop at company-owned stores. In addition to the poor economic condition, safety in the mines was a great concern with many men either killed or permanently injured.
African-Americans also worked in the shipping business as stevedores or more commonly called, longshoreman which consisted of waterfront manual laborer involved in loading and unloading ships. In the 1800s, the word stevedore was usually applied to black laborers who loaded and unloaded bales of cotton and other freight on and off riverboats.
Work for Negroes in the Northern cties weren't much better. Many blacks probably thought that after the Civil War their streets were going to be paved golden with opportunity, but boy were they in for a surprise!
Blacks were denied at every level on the economic ladder. It has been observed that this was a period the black crime rate rose, with the white crime rate going down. Whites controlled every single aspect of gainful American employment.
Factories were going full steam ahead, but when blacks tried to enter, they were shut out, why? Mainly because the whites didn't want to work side by side with blacks, so as a result they were not hired.
The textiles and garment industries were also booming during this period, but there aren't records of blacks ever being hired.
It was possible for blacks to find work with the railroads as Pullman porters, track workers, or common laborers, but at the same time when their families and friends wanted to travel on the train, they were segregated. How demoralizing that had to be. White railroad unions blocked them out from making better pay which was in the maintenance and train building departments.
In the early 1800s, there were many black craftsmen such as carpenters, machinist, contractors, etc. who enjoyed a good reputation with their skilled art trade, but in the late 1800s that image changed due to the increase of separate but equal doctrine. It's not a dispute blacks couldn't do the work, the issue was the color of skin that kept them out of the workforce.
When a black would apply for employment at a retail store, they wouldn't hire them, saying whites did not want to be served by them. One black was fortunate enough to land a job as the cities only black clerk at a commercial bank. What was the catch? He never received a raise or promotion and dared not complained.
Businesses would hire newly arriving immigrants before hiring their American black brothers. Blacks were better educated, but just the wrong color in their eyes.
If a black person extended himself through higher learning going on to become a doctor or lawyer, one important question has to be answered. Who were going to be his paying clients? This problem persist in today's world and as long as America is around, it always will. It's a deeply entrenched belief in white people whether conscious or unconscious to avoid doing business with blacks. (generally speaking)
Whites rarely would patronize black professionals, even famous black sociologist of those days WEB Dubois made a comment "Education will get you nothing but disappointment and humiliation.'' which Dubois had to be frustrated when making that statement because he was at the forefront in African American achievement through education.
It has been noted that there were only two avenues open for blacks during this period in history which was strike-breaking and vice.
Different businesses such as the coal mines would hire blacks a strike-breakers when the whites would protest for more money. Of course, many blacks lost their lives with the violent outburst by the white workers fearing they were losing their jobs. Blacks had to take the chance along with the danger, what else could they do?
They had to feed their families too. With the women, it was the same thing. When white dressmakers went on strike, the company hired black women to take their place. So basically, blacks were used as pawns in the game.
The other avenue open to blacks was the vice, and this clearly explains how and why this phenomenon has extended down to our day for a segment of our black community. It would seem these blacks are still demoralized and traumatized from these events in history. But we have every hope they will rise and soar like the eagles. There was a lot of gambling, prostitution, lottery, and bootlegging, going on in the cities, and maybe the police kept a blind eye to it because they ignored it for a while. - At this point in history, Philadelphia was estimated to have 10,000 prostitutes and 1,000 brothels in the 1890s. Most of the vise would find it's way into the black neighborhoods with black leaders unable to stop it.
We think it's important to note that old saying that "the more things change the more they stay the same" applies here. America has made some progress in racial relations but the attitude still exist for blacks entering the workplace which is mostly white. Many will keep quiet but may not want you there, but you have your family to feed just like they do and as long as everyone does his work and obey the rules is all that matters. We're not out to win a popularity contest. But if they sincerely want to work with you, that would be wonderful!
From Vaseline company archives
| Our Community in 1878 |
Newsworthy Events in the Black Community:
- February 16, 1878 - Silver dollars made legal tender.
- May 14, 1878 - Vaseline is for sale, invented by Robert Chesebrough.
- July 12, 1878 - Fever epidemic in New Orleans begins with ultimately 4,500 dying.
- 1878 - Marie Selika Williams was an African American coloratura soprano and the first Black artist to perform in the White House.
#100 - Public Domain image - By Esther Bubley (Library of Congress) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#101 - Public Domain image - http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/browse-author.php?a=32495
#102 - Public Domain image - This image is in the public domain in the United States. In most cases, this means that it was first published prior to January 1, 1923 (see the template documentation for more cases). Other jurisdictions may have other rules, and this image might not be in the public domain outside the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:VaselineWagon.jpg
#103 - Public Domain image - By Bain News Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#104 - Public Domain image - This image is in the public domain in the United States. In most cases, this means that it was first published prior to January 1, 1923 (see the template documentation for more cases). Other jurisdictions may have other rules, and this image might not be in the public domain outside the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Taylor-Marshall_1900.png
#105 - Public Domain image - Jules Beau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#106 - Public Domain image - By (unknown) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
#107 - Public Domain image - Carl Van Vechten [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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