Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Couple of Articles on Contrabands

Here is another Covington Journal article from May 3, 1862, this time reprinted from the Greenport Watchman, a New York newspaper. I added the bold in the top article. As many articles as I have seen about criticism of African-Americans and as many stereotypes as some of these articles expressed, I must admit this particular wording caught me off-guard. Clearly the writer expected that "servant" was the main job African-Americans could hold, but that they should be deferential in their conduct. He then seems to praise the white laborers for their "hooting" of the African Americans who arrived in the City of Brotherly Love.

A Coming Question
What to do with the "contrabands"?  They are escaping in large numbers from the districts overrun by the army, and are rushing North. Recently the very significant fact was allowed to come over the wires from Washington that in that city they were getting so saucy as to be unendurable, elbowing white men off the sidewalks, insulting white women and behaving in so independent a manner as to be unfit for servants. In Philadelphia a gang of 100 or more arriving on one train, were hooted by a crowd of white laborers, who justly took alarm at the idea of competition with this black horde. The pockets of the tax-payers will also take alarm at the idea of the pauperism and crime, with their attendant expense, which such an irruption threatens to inflict upon society.

The Journal then reprints this untitled story from the Boston Post.

We of the free states have expressed a great deal of sympathy for the African race while in bondage. Now let us receive them as freedmen, and give them honest employment.
Correspondent of Boston Journal

--The mechanics and working men of Boston can think of this: half a million of negro competitors for labor or support in almshouses, in Massachusetts (as but few free states will tolerate the presence of the colored brethren at all, our proportion would amount to this) - would be the consequences of the success of the emancipation schemes of Sumner, Greeley, Phillips, Garrison & Co. Pleasant anticipation! especially upon the approach of warm weather.

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