Stone Collection: Volume 98 - Item 15
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[15.] J. W. E. Bowen and J. Max Barber, (ed.s), Voice of the Negro: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine 3 (June 1906): 381-456.
Whole issue of an African American periodical containing articles, poetry, columns, editorials, and advertisements. Mr. Stone has marked an article entitled “Choose!” by William Pickens. The article concerns the dilemma faced by African Americans; whether to keep quiet and make the best of a bad situation, or whether to rock the boat by demanding equal treatment under the law. As an example, the author of the article discusses the disfranchisement of African Americans by the inclusion of “understanding clauses” in constitutions recently adopted by Southern states. “In Alabama,” he writes, “I heard one of the most prominent members of the late ‘constitutional’ convention pledge the people of his state that not a white man, however poor or ignorant, should be disfranchised. . . We can appreciate the sarcasm of the Negro; he had answered the listed questions, but the registrar, not wishing to register any more than the 35 Negroes he had already enrolled, added this stunner. ‘And what is a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum?’ The negro, illiterate but not unwitty, replied: ‘Well, sah, I dunno what that is unless it’s somethin’ another to keep a nigger f’om votin’.’”