African American News in the Baltimore Sun 1870-1927 by Margaret D. Pagan: Book Review

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of review and I have received other books from Genealogical Publishing Company, also for review. However, my opinions are my own and not influenced by outside sources.

If you are like me, one of your favorite genealogical authors is the person who abstracts all those interesting tidbits of news from the local newspaper.

Margaret Pagan has compiled an excellent selection of African American -related news items in her new book, African American News in the Baltimore Sun 1870-1927. It is 98 pages long, complete with index and packed with interesting news items.

If you have the Loane surname in your family tree, from 04 January 1870, we learn that Jane Loane, residing in the District of Columbia, passed away at the age of 100 years, but also that she was originally from Northumberland County, Virginia.

On 28 October 1901, Mrs. Ida B. Wells-Barnett was interviewed. She not only published the Free Speech newspaper, but she spoke out against Southern lynchings of of Negroes who she found to be mostly innocent of any crime. Her newspaper was then wrecked and she was driven out of the city of Baltimore.

Did one of your family members work as a porter on Pullman sleeping cars? On 7 April 1915, porters testified before the U.S. Commission on Industrial Relations that, without tips, they could not support themselves on the salary of $27.50 per month.

On 27 August, 1916, there was an outbreak of polio at St. Katherine’s School, which had an enrollment of 40 children. Three children/families which had stricken children were identified in the article.

A few sports items can be found, such as the death of a well known boxer:

5 October 1894 – The body of John (Jack) Dorsey, the Baltimore Spider, was found in the North River in New York, after he fell off an excursion boat.

There are many entries concerning church personnel and local church news.

As might be expected in a large city newspaper, many of the news articles concern politics at the local, state and national levels.

All make for interesting reading.

If your family lived in the Baltimore, Maryland area at the turn of the 20th century, Margaret D. Pagan’s new book, African American News in the Baltimore Sun 1870-1927, should be in your home library.

It can be ordered online at Genealogical Publishing Company for $21.95.

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