Trigger Warning: Quotations of language/imagery that is racially offensive
One hundred years ago today the University Missourian (Columbia, Missouri) ran the following article on the front page:
Head: Cinders Cause Suit
SubHead: Negro Woman Asks $300 Because Wabash Trains Soil Washing.
Emmeline Williams is not only identified in the subhead as a \”Negro Woman\” in the very first line of the article we are told that she is \”a negress.\” In the second paragraph of the same article she is referred to as \”Emmeline\” without an honorific and with no last name.
The article, which is a roundup of the various cases currently before the court, next moves on to the story of \”William Miller, a negro\” who is later referred to as \”Tude, as he is known in Columbia.\”
No one on the page is identified as \”white\” and no one not identified as \”negro\” is referred to only by their first name or not given an honorific on their first mention.
These are, no doubt, \”little\” things but it says much of what life was like for African-Americans that no matter what they did their \”racial identity\” was given as automatically as honorifics were given to whites and that the small dignities of life were accorded to white men and women but not African Americans.