Monday, January 18, 2016

Gems From the Black Press: La Quasima Club of Columbus & the Social Event of the Season

Gems from The Black Press: This article is part of a series  of articles whose purpose is to share each week an interesting article from early black publications of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As previously noted,the articles found inside of these long forgotten publications contain rich history that reflect  the early years of African America life in the first decades of freedom. Some are publications of fraternal or benevolent societies, and some were more community based. All  pieces shared in this series provide a close up to history and culture of times long past.

Today's focus:
The Reception Given by the LaQuasima Club
from: The Columbus Standard

In 1901 the Columbus Standard was said to be the leading newspaper for Afro-Americans in the state of Ohio. An online article from July 1901 describes an interesting social event that was said to the the social event of the season for the Black community, in Columbus Ohio. U.S., African American Newspapers, 1829-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. This
collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.

Original data: Negro Newspapers for the American Council of Learned Studies. Washington, D.C.: The Library of Congress.

Apparently the event was honoring men who had been serving in the US military and had been involved actively in the conflict in the Philippines. The reference to "Our Boys" is reflecting the men returning from conflict.  Little is seen in the press of how returning service men of color were received upon return from service, especially after the Spanish American conflict. These returning soldiers were returning from time served in the Spanish American War and specifically from the Philippine Islands.

The event unfolded at the Odd Fellows Hall in Columbus, and a list of attendees was included in the article. It was clearly described as a major society event, for the article pointed out that seventy-five couples of young people from "the prominent colored families in the city were present." (1) I was quite surprised to note that among the guests whose names were published was a resident of my own hometown, of Ft. Smith Arkansas as well.

The article described the event where the ladies were "attired in airy evening gowns, the gentlemen wearing the up-to-date shirt waist, all responded gracefully to the music of the people's orchestra, presented a scene which stirred the pride of those who looked upon it."

Beyond this being a simple description of a social event, such an article is quite useful in terms of providing today's reader with an interesting glimpse into the social life of an African American community at the turn of the 20th century. Clearly there was an "elite" portion of the population with the reference to the "prominent" families in attendance. At the same time there was an orchestra more than likely a black orchestra in Columbus at that time as well.  The article is also full of names of many who were in attendance, and this can be an interesting way of looking at a portion of the population almost as a Who's Who list of the Black Columbus at that time, and it provided a wonderful glimpse about he ways in which the Columbus Black community socialized. 

The very existence of the La Quasima club is something for those with ancestral ties to Columbus to explore.
What was the origin of this club?
How long did it last?
Did it evolve into something that still exists today?

And there is also the Odd Fellows Hall. Was this a G.U.O. O. F. building? (Grand United Order of Odd Fellows?) Does the building still stand today?

Articles such as this one from the Columbus Standard provide that opportunity to give readers even 100 years later a flavor of life in the community at that time.

1 comment:

Sable J. Shepherd said...

Angela, usually I do not make comments to blogs, but I am compelled just this one time to do so. Your blog, "I Shall Not Forget My Ancestor's Past" in which you list the names of the many of your ancestors and those that enslaved them, was very moving. To be able to actually read that someone, somewhere has been able to link so many of their ancestors to their former slaveholders was an awesome and amazing experience. This blog gives me hope that I may one day verify the names of the slave owners of my own ancestors, Milton Howard/Smith and Edward Bland. From this blog, I was able to ascertain that you have had tremendous successes in being able to identify your ancestor's slave owner's names. I am certain it took may years of hard work and sacrifices to do so, and the results of your hard work is a genealogical read that gives encouragement to a lot of people in their research. KG