Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

May 12, 1926

Guest post by Filomena Matoshi, undergraduate student at Manhattan College.

The title is what attracted my attention to this article. Dr. Garland Penn is asking for more African Americans to join the Prohibition movement. When this movement is discussed we normally see photos of white women and old white men protesting. In previous classes I’ve learned that the “dry crusaders” were led by rural Protestants and social progressives that aimed this movement toward the working-class poor. The reason the Volstead Act and 18th Amendment were not enforced was because there were people that drank alcohol who were law-abiding citizens.

The article mentions that African-American officers are needed in order to apprehend the white and black bootleggers. Normally when we learn about African-American history we do not know about that many were respected by whites enough to obey them. Penn was an African American who had been receiving good criticism from white press since 1886. Although this article uses the terms white and black to differentiate people, it has a lot of modern aspects in it as well.

I have never worked with African-American newspapers before, but this was an eye opener. We read a lot about African Americans being mistreated and looked down upon by white people, but they are seen in a good light in this piece. They are being encouraged to join the police force, which seems like an equal opportunity employer as far as race goes. The African Americans are also asked to join the Prohibition movement which consists of many white Americans. 

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