Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

March 23, 1957

On March 23, 1957, the Cleveland Call and Post ran a photo short story about a “Hobo party” hosted by the Ro-Ka-Wi social organization. “It wasn’t easy to select a winner at the annual Hobo party given by the Ro-Ka-Wi Saturday night at the Carleton House, as many arrived in tattered clothing, patched trousers, sloppy straws and frayed shirts,” the article began. The accompanying photo (captioned “Hobo hostesses”) showed several African American-women in their 20s and 30s who were members of the organization. The photo and story ran on the paper’s society page, called “Women’s Whirl.” This “Hobo party” and the Call and Post’s coverage of it are a good example of how social pages, and black newspapers more broadly, were often invested in asserting the class status of the paper’s writers, editors, and readers. Hosting and writing about a “Hobo party” helped mark these women as middle class.

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