Apparently, my father’s columns on the Will Rogers affair – Rogers referred to black people as “darkies,” an offense that resulted in some community members calling for a boycott of Gulf gas stations – did not sit well with this reader. Although my father did not condone Rogers’ use of the term, he felt strongly that as long as “Negroes” continued to refer to themselves in derogatory terms, arguments that others should not use them were shaky. BTW Gulf Refining Company was the sponsor of the television show on which Rogers appeared. The letter below is from a reader who thought m father’s views were off base.
Rather than increase the price of a haircut during the difficult years of the Great Depression, my father thought barbers should do a little less talking about politics, clients’ romantic exploits, etc. If he only had known that his observation that “the average barbershop might easily be seen as an ‘institution of learning and observation,’ was as true in 1934 as it is today. Perhaps he would have enjoyed the Ice Cube movies. Moreover, Harlem Hospital’s recent problems with quality of care are apparently not new.
According to Ellis Island records, my father arrived in the United States on November 1, 1923 from Hamilton Bermuda. He was 26 years old and single. A column that he published on December 16, 1933, notes that he worked for the Bermuda Colonist and Gazette, a daily newspaper, during his six-month stay there. He notes in this column that he had worked for the Age for eight years. Wonder what he did the first two.