Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Color Line in Ohio

I am reading a very interesting book that I found online at Google Books. The book, “The Color Line in Ohio, was written by Frank U. Quillen in 1912 and published in 1913. Dr. Quillen, a Professor of Sociology and Economics of Knox College, originally wrote the book as part of his requirements for his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Michigan.

The book contains two sections. The first section deals with the historical treatment of the Negro in Ohio and the second part deals with treatment of African Americans at the time the book was written.

To give you an idea of what the work encompasses, I’ve included the title of each chapter.

Part I

Chapter I – Feeling toward the Negro Shown in the Constitutional Convention, 1802

Chapter 2 – Legal Status of Negro, 1802- 1849

Chapter 3 - Repeal of the Black Laws, 1849

Chapter 4 – Social Position of Negro, 1802 -1849

Chapter 5 – Feeling toward the Negro as Expressed in the Constitutional Convention, 1850-1851

Chapter 6 – Legal Status, 1850- 1912

Chapter 7 – Social Status, 1850- 1912

Part II

Chapter 1 – Cincinnati

Chapter 2 – Dayton

Chapter 3 – Springfield

Chapter 4 – Columbus

Chapter 5 – Cleveland

Chapter 6 – Syracuse, A Negro-Hating Small Town

Why should you care? Because it’s part of our combined history, our heritage. Though some of us, descendants of that original Dorton, Napper, and Thacker clan, today consider ourselves white while others consider ourselves black, the truth is the race of our ancestors was defined not only by legal constraints, but also by the community at large. When the census taker came knocking, it was he who labeled our ancestors by race.

Below is a map taken from Dr. Quillen's book. The map is entitled, Negro Population of Ohio, 1850. Of the 107 individuals listed as Negro in Vinton County, 80 belong to our little group. For those of us who have never known the constraints associated with race, this book is a sobering read.

Quillen, Frank U. The Color Line in Ohio: A History of Race Prejudice in A Typical Northern State, Ann Arbor, George Wahr, 1913 accessed at http://books.google.com/books, 11/30/2010.

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