A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, March 22, 2010

African Americans in the Matawan Journal - 24 March 1910

In reviewing the index to the Matawan Journal, I found little reference to African Americans. This prompted me to begin looking page by page at selected editions to see how African Americans were portrayed in the local paper. Unfortunately, I have found a recurring theme of arrest and otherwise ill caricature. To give my readers the gist of what I've seen, occasionally I will publish the first article I come across that mentions an African American in an issue published 50, 75, or 100 years ago that week.

Below is the first in this series, from the Matawan Journal edition published one hundred years ago this week. In it, a drunken black man is tossed in jail for touching the shoulder of a white woman.

Negro Attacks Red Bank Woman

Henry Mills, a Red Bank colored man, who has been employed by Van Dorn & Kirby, the automobile men in East Front Street, Red Bank, was taken to the County Jail at Freehold Tuesday for assault on Mrs. Ida Bray, wife of James Bray, Sr., of Wallace Street, Red Bank, Monday night. Mrs. Bray was walking along Mount Street when she was accosted by Mills, who placed his hand on her shoulder. She gave a scream and ran down the street to her son's home and told of the occurrence. Mills was given a hearing Tuesday morning before Justice Sickles. Miss Mattie Williams, of Red Bank, was standing on Mount Street at the time of the affair, and she also identified Mills as the offender. Justice Sickles fined Mills $30, with the alternative of ninety days in jail for being drunk and disorderly, and on the assault charge held him under $500 bail to await the action of the Grand Jury.

The Matawan Journal, 24 March 1910 Page 2, Column 4


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