Strange Arts & Visual Delights
Star of Zion (Charlotte, NC, 22 August 1895, 2.) The Star of Zion was founded in 1876 by the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church and is still published today.
The reference to "traitors" probably refers to those who received lighter sentences for identifying the arrested men.
As some readers of the blog may know, I have slowly—very slowly—been creating a group biography of the fifty men who, in August 1895, surrounded the jail in Winston-Salem, NC, to prevent the lynching of a young black man, Arthur Tuttle, who had killed a white policeman in May. Many more were present, but we know the names of almost fifty participants—all men, all African American—because they were arrested, for riot and other charges, and some of their trials were reported in the newspapers. (An interview more than 70 years later stated that Arthur Tuttle’s sister, Ida, was also present, but she appears not to have been arrested.)
Very little from these men has survived in their words; those few words are not related to the defense of Tuttle and come to us through the filter of white editors. As we will see, we do have the voices of Simon G. Atkins, a prominent black educator and institution builder in Winston-Salem, and R. B. Garrett, an otherwise unknown man who wrote to the Richmond Planet.
I have been intermittently posting on this topic since July 2022 and intermittently researching for much longer. It seems to me natural to be curious about men who risked their lives to prevent murder. Who were they? Where did they come from? What were their familial, social, and institutional connections? How did they make their livings? What happened to them? What gave them the pluck to make a stand?
Here are my posts grouped by topic:
(1) “The Tuttle family and the Riot”
(2) Three posts on group biography, or prosopography:
“Prosopography: Towards a Collective Biography”
“The Method and Value of Prosopography”
“Prosopography in 1895 Winston-Salem: Some Limitations”
(3) Five posts on Arthur Tuttle’s protectors and their connections with themselves and others:
“Overview of Tuttle’s Protectors”
“Connections (1)—Walter Tuttle, Yancey Simpson, Green Scales, and Ellis Matthews”
“Connections (2a)—Samuel Toliver and Friends”
“Connections (2b)—Samuel Toliver, Peter Owens, John Mack Johnson, and W. H. Neal”
“Connections (3)—Micajah (Cager) Watt and the Depot Street School Neighborhood”
My next posts will consider the context of the times in the state and in Winston-Salem, then share and comment on contemporary documents that illustrate the issues.
For questions or comments, please email me at email@example.com.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.