How many times have I thought how nice it might be to work some mindless job in an airport or on a cruise ship? I’ve thought about taking a break from this communications business and going to work at Starbucks, Target of Macy’s. And how many times have I thought as I caught a red eye to New York, Atlanta or DC, that I really should spend more time seeing the Russian River or the Gold country? On one hand, my father would love nothing more than to get on a ship, even if it meant working as a “general servant” and heading to Barbados, where he could kiss his mom’s “graying hair.” On the other, he’s encouraging readers to “see New York first.”
Long before the Montgomery bus boycott, leaders in Harlem were calling on members of the black community to refrain from spending their money in stores that refused to hire them. Blumstein Department Store was a primary target. In this column it looks as if Koch’s Department store made some concessions, but Blumstein was a harder case. “This reminds us to ask: What attitude have the Blumstein taken towards Hitler?” Ebenezer asks. “Are they among the thousands who indicted him recently in Madison Square Garden for his inhuman treatment to non-Aryans? If they are not, we are surprised. If they are, they might ask themselves the questions: Are we not also guilty to a similar attitude towards the Negroes of Harlem?” The reference to “Little Man,” appears to be an attack on William H. Davis, the publisher and part owner of the New York Amsterdam News. It appears that Davis suggested that the advocates of the Blumstein boycott had ulterior motives. My father suggested that Davis sold out for advertising dollars.
So “we’ve” gotten off the subject of Will Rogers and his reference to “darkies,” and now back to the “tiff” between American born and immigrant blacks. This column, published April 7, 1934, takes a circuitous path to get to the point, touching on Mussolini, the reluctance of black folks to hire the services of Negro lawyers and the fact that black people are barred from eating in Washington, DC’s government-owned restaurants. He mentions Dr. Godfrey Nurse a physician born in Guyana who served on the New York State Electoral College. He quotes James S. Watson, a Jamaican-born municipal court judge.