Race and Place Newspapers

The Reflector

Newspaper Information
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Date of Publication: June 23, 1934 (Tuesday)
Frequency: weekly
Article Transcripts

Page 01

Column 01
The Second Step

Transcript of Article

Registrations at the library at Jefferson School convince one that the first step towards creating a permanent public libarry for Charlottesville Negroes is bring seriously considered by those interested in the success of the movement. The files show well over one hundred names since the library was opened to the public on June 2nd, and this fact is especially noteworthy when it is known that children under fourteen are unable to borrow books, which means that the majority of the names are those of adult readers, a rarity in any library. Those of the City Council, responsible for the new project are pleased with the "first step" towards making the library permanent, very well, but there are still other steps, equally as important, to be taken.

Registration shows a desire for such a place and those in charge know the type of library desired, however, there is another spet that is perhaps improtant. No public library, whether it is patronized by the Negro, the white, or a mixed public is complete without Negro literature. The Negro race comprises one-twelfth of the total population of the United States. The Negro race has made noteworthy contributions to civilization and these contributions and a general background of the racemust be studied and remembered if proper interracial understanding is to exist. Those contributions and the background,two vitally essential paths to better interracial understanding, are to be found in Negro history, Negro biographies, Negro poetry and fiction written by Negroes. Consequently local Negroes would do well to take "step number two", by sponsoring a drive for the establishment of a "Shelf of Negro Literature" at the new library. Private donations, church collections and social and secret organizations' assistance would soon net the necessary sum for a "Shelf of Negro Literature" and Negro or white readers would have a place at which they mahy ascertain facts concerning the Negro's three hundred years in America, his contributions to the world and his present day problems as well as achievements. Such a movement among local members of our race would materially assist in establishing a permanent and well-equipped library for Charlottesville Negroes.

Summary of Article
An article that commends the "first step" of creating a permanent Negro library in Charlottesville, but notes that the second step should include the mobilization of Charlottesville's black citizens to demand that "a shelf of black literature" be included.

Column 02
A Night School for Adults

Transcript of Article

Those interested in the circulation of this journal and others, frequently report interesting characters found among their clientele. Some tell of mothers with large families, struggling for existence, too proud to accept charity. Others report of Grouchlia that assails its victims in violent spells when the latter has bills a month or two in arrears. Interesting and varied are the stories centered around characters known and studied by circulation men, but the most interesting, yet pathetic characters of them all are the adults unable to read or write.

It sounds incredible at a time like this, that there are so many right in our midst who can neither read nor write, to whom the printed page means nothing. Lack of the simplest knowledge for them forms a curtain, too dark to penetrate, that shuts them off completely from the light of intellect. This is indeed a deplorable condition and one that slowly perhaps, but surely may be eradicated.

No Utopian ideas will be advanced towards this eradication. The problem is too simple for that - the complexity centers around those who are in a position to aid the less fortunate to learn at least two of the threes Rs "reading and 'riting".

The most pathetic report this week was made concerning a woman who was around fifty years of age. She was standing at a window in the bank waiting her turn to have a check cashed. The reporter was standing behind her when the clerk showed her where to sign her name. She looked blank, for a moment, and then reluctantly made an "X" on the check, saying she couldn't write.

Pope was off key when he said in one of his precepts that, "A little learning is a dangerous thing." A little learning on the contrary is very helpful, if for no other reason, one is able to read the label on bottles so that he may not confuse carbolic acid with vanilla. A night school for adults is really a necessity, not only in Charlottesville, but in all cities. This problem could be easily solved for it does not require much time or money. If the professional men and women of our city would organize themselves into a sort of "Help the Intellectually Meager" club and devote a couple of hours a week a to training adults in night school, think of the great amount of oil that may be produced to help make the well of progress move more smoothly. Such a service as this may not grace the pages of history but it will become indelibly written in a place more enduring, more everlasting; it will be written in the hearts of men.

Summary of Article
The auhtor details the problem of adult illiteracy in Charlottesville and proposes that night school classes be offered for these "intellectually meager" persons in need of help.

Page 04

Column 01
The Goal

Transcript of Article

From a shop window on any busy thoroughfare one can study to advantage the faces of the promiscuous throng. The ebb and flood tide of humanity as it surges in and out, hither and yon, here and there.

There is an incessant murmur as they push and shove and talk, but each is so intent upon his goal that there is no disorder or confusion.

There goes an elderly man of dignified mein, a bag in each hand. He seems to be a well-to-do business man going home for the week end. His face is strained and his eye has a weary look as if the world is too much with him. He walks rapidly and leans h is whole body forward in happy anticipation of those moments of peace and quiet that await him at home. Two women pass; one young, dressed in the height of fashion, roughed to the roots of her hair - the other elderly, apparently the mother, with a patie nt woe-begone look on her kind face, had on the simplest of garments. She is trying to keep pace with her flapper daughter who every now and then casts her a bored sophisticated look. A nurse maid drags a refractory child who insists on more candy from the bag and its mother.

A day laborer with dinner pail, pick and shovel sings a merry tune as he plods on to his humble home. A group of boys, some with bathing suits under their arms, others with bats and balls reflect the carefree spirit of youth in their happy smiling faces.

Three men pass together. They are engaged in close conversation, and from their dress one recognizes a minister, a merchant and a lawyer. Some move so nervously and hurriedly that one cannot catch the expression in its swift changes to commingled thoughts.

Now a vendor stops right in the middle of the walk to peddle his wares, but is almost swept from his feet. A group of children come tripping along innocent of why the throng is rushing so, but gleeful of their haste.

So they pass all day long is streams with but little let up: strained, tense, eager, alert, sad, gay, old, young, rich and poor; all caught up in the swift currents of the tide. None look backward, all are bent upon a forward course - where are they going? Why are they rushing? What is it for? What is the end?

Have they asked themselves? No. To-day, to-morrow, on and on: weeks, months, years - it will be the same. Where? You ask again. To their goal - but does it lead anywhere after all. Where - is - the goal?

Summary of Article
A skillfully rendered slice of Charlottesvillian life that asks the question "where is the goal?"

Page 06

Column 02
An Open Letter to Thomas Sellers, Editor of the Reflector

Transcript of Article

My Dear Mr. Sellers:

I have been a constant reader of "The Reflector" since the Aug. 5th issue. I read your Journal along with six or seven other Negro publications every week. May I state here that I find your features and your editorials written in a scholarly and brilliant style that I feel will place you in a short time, along with the foremost Journalists in our present school of newspaper men.

Mr. Sellers, I find it difficult to understand your attitute towards what ou delight in defining as "Our Radical School of Thought". In your first issue you branded Communsim as a type of political disease, to be dreaded by all Negroes. You have followed this thought up with front page editorails from time to time, and in June 9th issue, there were traces of your distaste for the movement in the concluding paragraph of the article "Dr. Lewis K. McMillan the Scholarly Iconoclast". The June 16th issue of your paper featured "Pipe Dreams of our Radical Intelligensia", which contained more veiws [sic] against what you called "our Radical School".

In this age of wholesale lynchings, forced Negro labor and brazen segregation, it is amazing to find a Negro who would oppose action designed to abolish these intolerable conditions and inconceivable to imagine a person taking such a stand under the guise of "helping the Race". Communism, which is the language of what you define as "our Radical School", stands for racial equality in place of segregation; it advoates brotherly love rather than the lynch law, and liberation for the laboring mases in teh place of forced labor.

Mr. Sellers, your writings in the veiw that has been discussed tends to show, that maybe you are more versed in teh technique of Journalism than you are in the ethical duties towards the Race you serve.

Because facing squarely the principle of Communism, or if you would rather have me say, the platform of the "Radical School" forces one to accept the interpretations as a plan for the Negro's betterment socially, politically and economically - to approve such a movement is to deny the need of a change. Mr. Sellers, where is the sane man that could do this?

Summary of Article
A letter to the editor asking him to rethink his characterization of Communism "as a type of political disease." The author goes on to submit that Communism is "a plan for the Negro's betterment socially, politically and economically."

"Charlottesville, Yours and Mine," unlinked
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