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From 1876 to 1922, the Savannah Tribune served as a newspaper written by and for African Americans living in Savannah, Georgia. Our group worked to rediscover and transcribe articles that discussed events, celebrations, deaths, and other pieces concerning the Fourth of July. Out of the articles that we transcribed and summarized, three main themes repeatedly occurred: celebration and patriotism, racism and equality, and death. While many articles covered simple celebrations, picnics, and get-togethers, others took on hard social issues common among black Americans at the time, such as unequal treatment due to their race. A large majority of the articles told the story of someone’s death; often, they would tell who died, where they were, and what happened.
NEGRO AUTO RACES
This article describes a car race that was scheduled to take place on July 4th, 1921 and also what the race means for equality. The author shows that celebration doesn’t have to be pure fun and recreation; it has the potential for an impactful, deeper meaning. It also shows that African Americans could compete with those that discriminated against them. This article shows the determination of African Americans to be equal in a time where discrimination was still common. The author puts emphasis on the African-American community that wants to produce well-rounded individuals and how they are fighting for equality in a non-violent way. The author shows us that black Americans are equal to (and as competitive as) those who were trying to limit their rights and freedoms. When reading this article, it is nearly impossible not to notice and appreciate the determination that African-Americans of that time had when it came to fighting for true equality.
The article “Emancipation Day” showcases the themes of racism and patriotism. The author is calling for African Americans to celebrate the first of January as a day of freedom as opposed to the Fourth of July. This article is important because it shows a unique perspective on the Fourth of July from an African American. “It is true that on the Fourth day of July the United States gained its independence,” the article reads, “but that did not free the colored man.” However, on January 1st, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation which declared all slaves free. The author argues that his date should be more important to African Americans as opposed to the Fourth of July, since that date only freed white American colonists and not African Americans.