Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

February 10, 1959

On February 10, 1959, the Philadelphia Tribune reported on black voter registration in the Fourth Congressional District, which includes parts of North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia. In 1958, the Fourth District had elected Robert N.C. Nix Sr., the first black congressman in Pennsylvania history, but the Tribune noted that there were still more eligible black voters to be registered. “In the Fourth Congressional District, especially in the 24th, 28th, 29th, 32nd and 47th Wards, extensive canvassing by committeemen during the Winter Registration Campaign is absolutely necessary,” the Tribune managing editor John Saunders argued.  “If you are a Democratic or Republican committeeman in either of those wards you can make yourself a big man or woman with your leader by canvassing every street of your division, house by house, and getting those persons not registered qualified to use their voting franchise in the May primary.” (Click to view PDF).

This article was part of a series on “why it is so necessary for Negroes in all sections of the city to register and vote.”  Here are a few examples:

On January 3, 1959, the Tribune described the election of Robert N.C. Nix Sr. as “by far the most outstanding event of 1958 to Negroes. For as far back as 1933, the Tribune had been campaigning for the election of a Negro Congressman, as it crusaded for Negro judges, councilmen, police inspectors, captains and lieutenants...and the election of Mr. Nix as United States Representative from the Fourth Congressional District by a majority of more than 38,000 votes was the crowning point of a year which saw Negroes realize great progress in many fields of endeavor.”

February 14, 1959, “Can Double Negro Registration in Many of the City’s Big Wards.”

February 17, 1959, “5th Councilmanic Negro Vote Outnumbers White by 52,928.”

February 24, 1959, “Rise in Negro Registrations Potent Way to Help [Judge Raymond Pace] Alexander.”


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