Friday, September 19, 2014

One Newsaper, Two Homes

Over a year ago, I was fascinated when doing some research to come across a digitized image of a Black newspaper called the Broad Ax.  This newspaper started out in Salt Lake City, and had an amazing history from an amazing editor.

Julius Taylor was a unique man with unique ideas that covered many aspects of politics. He traveled from Virginia, to the Midwest before settling in Salt Lake City Utah in 1895. A year later he launched the Broad Ax, from his base in Utah. This is amazing since at that time, there were so few people of color in the state of Utah. It is estimated that there were less than 1000 African Americans in the state at that time. It has been noted that in 1890, the population was less than 600. (1)

Taylor was often in conflict with people of varying opinions politically and religiously, but stated in his newspaper that people of varying opinions could respond to his thoughts "so long as their language was proper, and responsibility is fixed." [2]

Taylor could be described as a man of interesting politics in many ways. At a time when most Black Americans were politically leaning to the policies of the Republican party in the late 1800s, he was one who encouraged Black readers to consider more the politics of the Democratic party. Interestingly, that shift would occur decades later in the 1960s after the Voting Rights Act. Black registered as Democrats and those with more conservative and sometimes "anti-black" sentiments began to shift in larger numbers to the Republican party. Taylor often lectured how the preferred party of the time had abandoned the Lincoln values and had shifted away in a different direction. He particularly deplored the actions of the Republican Party convention of 1896 nominated persons of all religious and ethnic backgrounds except African Americans.

Julius Taylor did become a strong voice against the lynchings throughout the nation of black people and often was a spokesperson against lynching in The Broad Ax. He also worked tirelessly to encourage the placement of Blacks in Salt Lake City city council, where he met much opposition from a strongly conservative population.

Taylor did not have strong religious feelings and often spoke against issues and conservative policies of the Mormon church and other faiths as well.

His strongest interests were continually equality for all people and the sentiment was found often in his editorials.

Three  years after publication, Taylor left Salt Lake City, and after efforts to have involvement of people of color  and relocated the offices of The Broad Ax to Chicago, where he worked within a city that had a more sizable black population. (2)


1.  Utah Digital Newspapers, Creating Citizen Historians [Link to quotation]

2, A detailed article about Julius Taylor and The Broad Ax can be found in a digitized copy of the Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, No. 3, Summer 2009 p. 204.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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