“No man who has studied the history of [the poll tax] by Virginia can honestly deny that its basic purpose was to curtail the vote of our Negro citizens . . . “ - Augustus C. Johnson to the House Judiciary Committee, 5/16/1962.
File Unit: Papers Accompanying Specific Bills and Resolutions of the Committee on the Judiciary from the 87th Congress, 1961 - 1962
Series: Papers Accompanying Specific Bills and Resolutions, 1903 - 1972
Record Group 233: Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789 - 2015
LLB042 WA 050
(LL) NL PD WASHINGTON DC 15 1962 MAY 16 AM 3 50
HON EMANUEL CELLER
CHAIRMAN JUDICIARY COMMITTEE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WASHDC
THE PEOPLE OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA WANT THE POLL TAX ABOLISHED
AS A QUALIFICATION FOR VOTING. WE WOULD PREFER THAT THIS BE
DONE BY OUR OWN STATE GOVERNMENT BUT IF THE LEADERS OF THE
ORGANIZATION THAT DOMINATES THE COMMONWEALTH REFUSE TO REDRESS
OUR GRIEVANCES THEY CANNOT COMPLAIN IF WE APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE
OF THE NATION TO DO IT BY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
THE ARGUMENT HAS BEEN ADVANCED THAT THE POLL TAX IS AN
IMPORTANT SOURCE OF INCOME TO THE COMMONWEALTH. IF THIS IS
TRUE, WHY THEN IS IT NOT MADE COMPULSORY AS ARE OUR OTHER TAXES?
THEN TWICE AS MUCH WOULD BE COLLECTED FROM THIS SOURCE AS IS
COLLECTED NOW I BELIVE THIS TO BE A SPECIOUS ARGUMENT
NO MAN WHO HAS STUDIED THE HISTORY OF THE ADOPTION OF
A050 SHEET 2
THIS TAX BY VIRGINIA CAN HONESTLY DENY THAT ITS BASIC PURPOSE
WAS TO CURTAIL THE VOTE OF OUR NEGRO CITIZENS I URGE THAT THE
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE REPORT OUT THE ANTI-POLL TAX RESOLUTION
AGUSTUS C JOHNSON CANDIDATE FOR DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION 10TH
Just before going to college I went to Simsbury, Connecticut, and worked for a whole summer on a tobacco farm to earn a little school money to supplement what my parents were doing. One Sunday, we went to church in Simsbury, and we were the only Negroes there. On Sunday mornings I was the religious leader and spoke on any text I wanted to 107 boys. I had never thought that a person of my race could eat anywhere, but we ate in one of the finest restaurants in Hartford.
After that summer in Connecticut, it was a bitter feeling going back to segregation. It was hard to understand why I could ride wherever I pleased on the train from New York to Washington and then had to change to a Jim Crow car at the nation’s capital in order to continue the trip to Atlanta. The first time that I was seated behind a curtain in a dining car, I felt as if the curtain had been dropped on my selfhood. I could never adjust to the separate waiting rooms, separate eating places, separate rest rooms, partly because the separate was always unequal, and partly because the very idea of separation did something to my sense of dignity and self-respect.
Black History month. Here is your 1st black history heroine.
The lady circled in the photo was Lucy Higgs Nichols. She was born into slavery in Tennessee, but during the Civil War she managed to escape and found her way to 23rd Indiana Infantry Regiment which was encamped nearby. She stayed with the regiment and worked as a nurse throughout the war.
After the war, she moved north with the regiment and settled in Indiana, where she found work with some of the veterans of the 23rd.
She applied for a pension after Congress passed the Army Nurses Pension Act of 1892 which allowed Civil War nurses to draw pensions for their service. The War Department had no record of her, so her pension was denied. Fifty-five surviving veterans of the 23rd petitioned Congress for the pension they felt she had rightfully earned, and it was granted.
The photograph shows Nichols and other veterans of the Indiana regiment at a reunion in 1898. Beloved by the troops who referred to her as “Aunt Lucy,” Nichols was the only woman to receive an honorary induction into the Grand Army of the Republic, and she was buried in an unmarked grave in New Albany with full military honors in 1915.
Link to Maya’s PayPal if you want to support her research
For all of my black cinephiles and history nerds out there, I feel like this is right up our alley. The website is super informative and user friendly, and not only has popular black films but vintage footage dating back to the silent film era.
Today in Black Excellence: Dapper Dan—the underground fashion icon who made history as the first Black designer to receive CFDA’s lifetime achievement award.
“I don’t give a damn about failure. I was born part of failure. We are the phoenix—all of us here in America, every black man, woman, and child are part of the phoenix, still rising from those ashes. All my life is about getting knocked down and getting back up. I don’t care. It’s fun!”—Dapper Dan.
What’s Dapper Dan’s story?
Born Daniel Day on August 8, 1944, in Harlem, New York City, into a working-class family. By 13, he was making thousands a day after teaching himself gambling. By the 70s, Dan first sold items out of his car, and in 1982, the iconic Dapper Dan’s Boutique had its grand opening —open 24/7.
Dan is self-taught—from his fabrics and leather printing, to his creations of unique textiles featuring Louis Vuitton and Gucci logos. His designs became synonymous with 80s hip-hop—but Dan was neglected by the fashion world, and his illegal use of major label logos led to police raids. Local attention became Global; European luxury fashion companies like Fendi caught wind and promptly took legal action. Dapper Dan’s Boutique was shut down in 1992. Ever the hustler, he continued working underground.
How did he come to win the CFDA award?
Ironically, to say the least, and on his own terms in true Dapper Dan style. Fans were outraged when they noticed Gucci steal one of his classic designs for a major show. The coat was first made for Olympian Diane Dixon, and she posted on Instagram: “Give Dapper Dan his credit. He did it first in 1989!” Incredibly, Gucci accepted its wrongdoing and sparked his career into new life when it offered a partnership.
At age 77, he made history as the first Black fashion designer honored with the CFDA’s Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the first designer to receive the honor without ever doing a solo fashion show. Truly the epitome of Black excellence.
Original portrait by Tumblr Creatr @patiencelekienart
There’s a quote by Faith Cummings that says, “We still struggle to garner a seat at the table. Even though we’ve oft built the table ourselves.” As a Black Creative, this is a reality many of us face. And Dapper Dan is a modern representation of just that—Black Excellence. He exemplifies how and why our contributions to culture often define culture. It was an honor dedicating this piece to him, as an extension of my gratitude and appreciation for the path he has paved for all Black Creatives. Thank you Dapper Dan.