Newspaper Articles Concerning Segregation and Racism

July, 1914 case against the Forum Theater owner AM Renne's segregated seating.

July, 1914 case against the Forum Theater owner AM Renne’s segregated seating.

This page contains original, scanned newspaper articles covering the period from 1865 until 1920. The articles cover the racial attitudes of local whites to Ypsilanti’s large black community, segregation and the campaigns, suits and organizations that mobilized against it. Also included are articles looking at African-American views on race and articles on black businesses open to serve the black community. For dozens of articles on the campaign to desegregate Ypsilanti schools, see the First Ward School Newspaper Archive.

The language and content of these stories, taken directly from period newspapers, is often derisive and racist, especially on this topic. It should be noted that the ‘color line’ and racial segregation were openly and unashamedly discussed in the period. Though the articles are presented without commentary, readers are asked to pay attention to how reporting in the local press changes as the years progress and the gains won in the Civil War era are overturned. While many of these clippings are simply notices or seemingly minor, together they tell a grand story of the life of the community.

The newspapers were accessed through microfilm at various libraries and archives. The Ypsilanti Public Library, The Ypsilanti Historical Society, The Library of Michigan as well as Eastern Michigan University’s Halle Library all have Ypsilanti newspapers.

They include: Ypsilanti True Democrat, 1864-1865. Changed to Ypsilanti Commercial  in 1865 and published, with some interruptions, until 1906. Ypsilanti Sentinel published from the 1840s until it merged to form the above Commercial in 1865.  Ypsilanti Daily Press, published from 1905-1920. The Ypsilantian, published from 1880-1912.

The date and publication of the article are in the title; for example 12dec1919press is December 12, 1919 Ypsilanti Daily Press, 4jul1897ian is July 4, 1897 Ypsilantian m and so on. Click on any thumbnail to cycle through a slide show of larger versions, which can be further enlarged and downloaded.

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