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Work, for the Night is Coming: Negro Life on Vinegar Hill, Circa 1890

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Title: Work, for the Night is Coming: Negro Life on Vinegar Hill, Circa 1890


1
Work, for the Night is ComingNegro Life on
Vinegar Hill, Circa 1890
  • A Black History Month Presentation
  • Scot A. French
  • Associate Professor/Interim Director
  • The Carter G. Woodson Institute for
    African-American and African Studies
  • University of Virginia

2
Negro Life on Vinegar Hill, Circa 1890
  • We didn't know anything about "blacks" then.
    Everyone used the word "Negro."
  • -- Charlottesville native Rebecca Fuller
    McGinness (b. 1892) quoted in From Porch Swings
    To Patios An Oral HistoryProject of
    Charlottesville Neighborhoods, 1914-1980
  • ,

3
Vinegar Hill Fourth Street (across from
Jefferson School)
4
  • Aerial view of Vinegar Hill, circa 1960

5
  • Map of Vinegar Hill Area Designated for
    Purchase and Demolition

6
Vinegar Hill Area Demolition Map
7
Street Improvements Map (with Ridge-McIntire
Overlay)
8
Map of Suggested Ultimate Development for
Vinegar Hill Area, Circa 1960
9
  • The Hills Current Tenants

10
Work, for the Night is Comingwww.artinplace.org
Public sculpture at the corner of Market and
Jefferson a monument to the 19th
CenturyBuilders Heroes of Vinegar Hill?
11
1877-1901 The Nadir
  • In his classic study of The Negro in American
    Life and Thought, historian Rayford Logan
    described the period between the end of
    Reconstruction and the first years of the
    twentieth-century (1877-1901) as The Nadir, or
    the lowest point.

12
  • Logan argued that the constitutional rights
    secured by African-Americans during
    Reconstruction were steadily eroded after 1877,
    thanks to a series of compromises and betrayals
    at the national level. By 1901, he observed, the
    consolidation of white supremacy in the South and
    Northern acceptance of victory for the Lost
    Cause was complete.

13
Irony
  • The rise of Vinegar Hill as a center of Negro
    social and cultural activity in Charlottesville
    paralleled the declining status of Negroes in the
    United States between 1877 and 1901.

14
Historic site of IngesGroceryat 4th and
W.Main
  • Even as pioneering Negro businessmen such as
    George Inge were purchasing lots and establishing
    successful businesses along West Main Street in
    the 1890s . . .

15
  • . . . white mobs in Wilmington, N.C. and other
    parts of the South were seizing on false
    pretextsto terrorize propertied Negroes and
    drive them out of town.

16
  • How did the colored citizens of Charlottesville
    establish a sprawling business and residential
    district in the very heart of the city without
    exciting the animosities of their white
    neighbors?
  • How did a marginalized people, so long relegated
    to the backways and bottomlands of the South,
    manage to claim The Hill as their own?

17
  • Insert story of Burkley Bullock

18
Moving In, Moving Out, Moving About
  • After the Civil War, many African Americans
    sought to establish their economic independence
    by purchasing land.

19
Orra Langhorne on The Negro Exodus from
Virginia, Circa 1886
  • Nothing about the colored people today impresses
    the observer more than the way they travel about.
    Every train carries away from the South colored
    people. They go by the hundreds, and many of them
    return no more...
  • At Charlottesville, I heard the same sort of
    thing was going on. Many of the young colored men
    going off in groups, the women in smaller parties
    or alone. Mrs. Crockfords house girl departed
    while I was there She had seemed well satisfied
    and made no complaint about wages, getting 4.00
    a month, which is deemed full price for a house
    girl in most Virginia towns. A letter which she
    asked me to read and answer for her one night,
    gave me the impression she was going North. The
    letter was from a colored girl, an old friend,
    who had gone from Virginia some time before and
    was now in a Connecticut city, earning 4.00 per
    week.

20
Southern Railroad, Heading Northbound past First
Baptist Church (Delevan), circa 1916
21
Charlottesvilles Negro Population, Swelled by
In-Migration from County, Peaks in 1890
  • According to U.S. Census figures, the 2,500
    Negroes who lived in Charlottesville made up
    roughly 45 percent of the citys total
    population.

22
Charlottesvilles Negro Population 1890-1920
  • While the number of Negroes living in
    Charlottesville held steady for the next thirty
    years, their percentage of the total population
    declined steadily and never again approached a
    majority.

23
The Vote
  • African Americans remained a potent force in
    Virginia politics for more than two decades after
    Reconstruction. In the early 1880s, their votes
    helped the liberal, bi-racial Readjuster movement
    seize control of the state government from white
    conservatives. (The Danville Riot, fueled by
    cries of Negro rule, put an end to that
    insurgency.)

24
The Vote (contd)
  • In 1890, the overwhelming support of Virginias
    Negro voters enabled John Mercer Langston, a
    Republican running as an Independent from
    Petersburg, to take a seat in Congress.
    (Langston was the last Negro to be elected to
    Congress from Virginia for nearly 100 years.)

John Mercer Langston in Congress, 1891
25
  • Convinced that Negro votes, backed by the threat
    of federal force, posed an intolerable threat to
    white home rule and a return to the dark days
    of Reconstruction, white Virginians plotted the
    removal of Negroes from politics by any means
    necessary.
  • In Charlottesville, white conservatives closely
    monitored the political activities of Negro
    leaders, particularly the pastors of the two
    largest churches First Colored Baptist and Mt.
    Zion Baptist.

26
Bear at the top of it, and a Wolf at the Bottom
  • From the Charlottesville Chronicle, May 1890
  • In passing down our famous Vinegar Hill the
    other day, we heard the following
  • Papa, why is Vinegar Hill so dangerous to
    little boys?
  • I dont know, unless because it is so steep,
    uneven, and the walks so bad that you might hurt
    yourself.
  • No sir, promptly replied the little fellow, it
    is because there is a Bear at the top of it, and
    a Wolf at the bottom.

27
Booker T. Washingtons 1895 Atlanta Exposition
SpeechCast your bucket down where you are . .
.
28
Booker T. Washingtons 1895 Atlanta Exposition
Speech
  • To those of my race who depend on bettering their
    condition in a foreign land or who underestimate
    the importance of cultivating friendly relations
    with the Southern white man, who is their
    next-door neighbour, I would say
  • -- Cast down your bucket where you are." Cast it
    down in making friends in every manly way of the
    people of all races by whom we are surrounded.
  • -- Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in
    commerce, in domestic service, and in the
    professions. And in this connection it is well to
    bear in mind that whatever other sins the South
    may be called to bear, when it comes to business,
    pure and simple, it is in the South that the
    Negro is given a man's chance in the commercial
    world . . .

29
Washingtons ideology resonated with Vinegar
Hills emerging black business elite.
30
(No Transcript)
31
  • "When my father, George P. Inge, opened his store
    on July 1, 1891 on West Main Street, the street
    was nothing but a dirt road. . . When I was a
    boy they would sell chickens out on the street
    and let them peck in the dirt. I remember carts
    drawn by oxen pulling up in front of the store,
    but people mostly used a horse and buggy.
  • -- Recollections of Thomas Ferguson Inge, Sr.

32
We had a premonition that West Main Street would
grow in value, which it did. They finally bricked
in the sidewalks. -- Recollections of Thomas F.
Inge, Sr.
Corner of Ridge and W. Main Streets (1916)
Holsinger Collection
33
  • "My father was influential and active in the
    city. Other grocers, like Mr. Edmonds and Mr.
    Buckner, were also influential.
  • -- Recollections of Thomas F. Inge, Sr.

A.J. Buckner and Daughter, 1918 (Holsinger
Collection)
34
  • Charlottesville City Directories from the 1890s
    offer a glimpse of Negro employment patterns and
    business/commercial activity on The Hill before
    segregation became the law of the land.
  • The directories, unlike the streets where people
    lived and worked, were neatly divided into
    white and colored sections. Individual
    entries included occupation and place of
    residence a valuable source of information for
    those seeking to map the shifting social
    boundaries of The Hill.

35
Negro Businesses Listed in Charlottesville City
Directories, 1890-95
36
Negro Businesses Listed in Charlottesville City
Directories, Circa 1890-95
Source 1888-89 Charlottesville Commercial
Directory
37
Negro Mens Occupations Listed in
Charlottesville City Directories, Circa 1890-95
Source 1895 Charlottesville City Directory
Colored Department
38
Negro Mens Occupations Listed in
Charlottesville City Directories, Circa 1890-95
Source 1895 Charlottesville City Directory
Colored Department
39
There were no listings in the directory for
colored architects, an elite profession
reserved for whites in the South . . .
1888-89 Charlottesville Commercial Directory
40
1888-89 Charlottesville Commercial Directory
  • . . . but there were listings for colored
    carpenters and builders, such as Joseph Cash,
    John Coles, and the highly esteemed Charles
    Goodloe.

41
  • "Blacks lived on both sides of Main Street,
    especially the first two blocks. From our store
    to Preston Avenue down to 5th and up as far as
    Jefferson Park Avenue. Also, Gospel Hill (behind
    Jordan Hall) was all black land. Vinegar Hill was
    a big Negro business area.

42
There were no colored bankers
1888-89 Charlottesville Commercial Directory
43
  • Pictures of kelser funeral home? Inge grocery
    store?

44
  • How did the colored citizens of Charlottesville
    establish a sprawling business and residential
    district in the very heart of the city without
    exciting the animosities of their white
    neighbors?

45
  • How did the colored citizens of Charlottesville
    establish a sprawling business and residential
    district in the very heart of the city without
    exciting the animosities of their white
    neighbors?

46
On the Move
  • Quotes from Orra Langhorne pic of train station?

47
Moving Out
48
Moving In
49
Colored Baseball Tonight
  • From the Charlottesville Letter of the Richmond
    Planet
  • APRIL 7, 1890 The Rio school boys have gone up
    to play the North Gardeners. The Black Pompadours
    are to play here at Chere at 3 p.m.
  • APRIl 29, 1890 The opening base ball game was
    played Thursday 25th. The Phalanx vs. Blk.
    Pompadours. The latter being defeated by two
    scores, score 15th to 17th.
  • JUNE 12, 1890 Phalanx base-ball club of
    University, Va. played two lively games June 4th
    one at Harrisonburg, Va., the other at Staunton.
    Phalanx is destined at some future day to stand
    equal to any nine in America.
  • FEB. 15, 1892 The glove contest was very good
    last week last Zion Hall, between Hopper and
    Wood. C. H. Hopkins, stage manager. The Phalanx
    Club will go into training in the latter part
    of this month. They would like for the base ball
    players of Virginia, to send in the name of their
    captain at an early date, so as we can get
    everything straight for the coming season. They
    would like to hear from Richmond, Norfolk,
    Petersburg, Danville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke, VA.
    address letters to Phalanx Base Ball Club,
    (colored) U. of Va.
  • MARCH 7, 1892 The Phalanx Base-ball Club of U.
    Va., will meet the Howard University Base-ball
    Club at Washington, D. C. the 17th of May if they
    can make the arrangements and will play three
    games. On the 18th Baltimore, 19th Norfolk, and
    30th Richmond. All B. B. Captains address letters
    to Phalanx B. B. C. 1107 W. Main Street,
    Charlottesville, Va.
  • APRIL 12, 1892 The Phalanx wins on the 24th
    inst. The Manhattan Base-Ball club of Richmond,
    VA. vs. Phalanx B. B. Club of U. of Va., the
    score stood 2 to 9 first day in favor of the
    Phalanx. See account of it next week.
  • JUNE 10, 1893 The Invincible base-ball team of
    Lexington crossed bats with the Phalanx base-ball
    team of this city at Piedmont Park, on June 2nd.
    The game was of great interest, both being
    excellent teams and played well, but victory
    perched upon the banner of the Phalanx, with a
    score of 11 to 0. The Phalanx have won every game
    played at the Piedmont Park this season. Let
    others come.

50
Feb. 1912 City Council adopts An Ordinance to
Secure for White and Colored People a Separate
Location of Residence for Each Race
51
Be it ordained by the Council of the City of
Charlottesville
  • 1. That it shall be unlawful for any white person
    to move into and thereafter occupy as a residence
    or place of abode any house, building or
    structure in any street or alley wherein a
    greater number of houses are occupied as
    residences by colored people than are occupied as
    residences by white people.
  • 2. That it shall be unlawful for any colored
    person to move into and thereafter occupy as a
    residence or place of abode any house, building
    or structure in any street or alley wherein a
    greater number of houses are occupied as
    residences by white people than are occupied as
    residences by colored people.

52
New Development in Cityto be Race-Restricted
  • Be it ordained by the City Council (contd)
  • 3. That no person shall construct or locate on
    any block or square on which there is at that
    time no residents, any house or other building
    intended to be used as a residence without
    declaring in his application for a permit to
    build whether the house or building so to be
    constructed is designed to be occupied by white
    or colored people and no permit to build in such
    case shall be issued unless the applicant
    complies with the provisions of this section.

53
Exceptions Made for White or Colored Servants
Residing With Their Employers
  • Be it ordained by the City Council (contd)
  • 4. That nothing in this ordinance shall be
    construed to interfere with the continued
    occupation or use of any property in the manner
    in which it is occupied or used at the time it
    goes into effect by the persons so occupying and
    using it or to prevent the occupation of
    residences by white or colored servants or
    employes on the square or block in which they are
    employed as domestics.

54
Feb. 1912 Mayor E.G. HadenVetoes Segregation
Ordinance Says It Would Hurt Property Values and
Entail Inestimable Losses Throughout the City
55
April 1912 City Council Unanimously Adopts
Residential Segregation Ordinance Over Mayors
Veto
56
May 1912 Colored Citizens from Estes Street
Area Seek Relief from Segregation Ordinance City
Council Takes No Action
57
  • June 1912 - City Council amends and re-enacts
    Segregation Ordinance so that its provisions
    apply to Blocks, not entire Streets. This
    allows zig-zagging streets like Anderson (above)
    to be designated White, on one block, Colored
    on another.

58
January 1890 Miss Belle Gibbons Gives Last
Concert of the Season at Opera House
  • From the Charlottesville Chronicle, Jan. 24 1890
  • To-night Miss Belle F. Gibbons will give her last
    concert of the season, at the Opera House. No one
    who has ever heard Miss Belle sing has ever
    spoken of her talent except with terms of praise.
    To-night she will make an especial effort.

Levy Opera House (today)
59
September 1890 Washington Dramatist Henrietta
Vinton Davis Visits The Hill
  • From the Charlottesville Chronicle, Sept. 5,
    1890
  • The performance of the colored tragedienne,
    Henrietta Vinton Davis, at the First Colored
    Baptist church Monday night was largely attended
    by all classes, black and white.
  • The Home Talent, Rev. R. A. Scott and wife,
    etc., etc., received much louder applause than
    the celebrated Washingtonian.

Henrietta Vinton Davis
60
September 1890 Last Concert by Rev. Scott and
his Sunny South Singers
  • From the Charlottesville Chronicle, Sept. 19,
    1890
  • The last concert of the Sunny South Singers was
    given Monday night, before a large audience, of
    which a large part was white. Rev. R. A. Scott
    says that his intention is to disband the
    singers.
  • He deserves great credit for the manner in which
    he organized these singers, and also for the
    concord which has always existed between the
    First Colored Baptist Church and the white people
    of the community.

61
Politics The War of the Churches
  • From the Charlottesville Chronicle, Sept. 19,
    1890
  • The two colored churches in this city the
    Delevan and Mt. Zion, both claiming to be the
    first baptist church of Charlottesville -- seem
    to be on the outs.
  • The newspaper went on to describe the fierce
    controversy raging between the Rev. R. Alonzo
    Scott, pastor of the Delevan, and the Rev. J.
    Francis Robertson, pastor of the Mt. Zion, over
    issues of party politics and race leadership.
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