The Color Line in Maryland: What the Press Says About It in the Late Election

“THE COLOR LINE IN MARYLAND: What the Press Says About It in the Late Election.” The Sun (1837-1989). November 17, 1883.

The Salisbury Advertiser (dem.) says that in Wicomico the color lino was drawn by the colored voters thernselves, and that they were sworn in their clubs to vote for none but republicans, and adds: “How bitter and uncompromising their feelings were is shown by the fact that out of the largo number of hands employed by E. E. Jackson & Co. not a single colored man voted for Mr. Jackson [Elihu E. Jackson], “the democratic candidate for Senator, who was elected.

The Rockville Sentinel (dem.) says the republican party attempted to force “negro rule and social equality upon the people” and that no party was over known to so entirely collapse since its defeat as the republican party.

The Kent News (dem.) says in that county “it is well known some of the colored people vote the republican ticket from fear of personal violence from their fellows.” The News cites the case of an old colored family servant who went to the polls to vote a democratic ticket, and was quickly surrounded by a crowd of colored men,who began to jeer and threaten him and blocked his way to the window, until Fred. Nicole, a prominent colored man, and S. S. Baker, a custom-house officer, interfered and prevented greater trouble.

The Dorchester Era (rep.) says: “If there is one colored man despised by his race in this county, that man is Henry L. Keene. He calls himself a republican, but started out several weeks ago to defeat Mr. Meekins, but his efforts amounted to nothing. By his conduct he found himself friendless and alone among his own people. Late in the evening of election day, the pent-up wrath of those of his color whom he had insulted by actions during the day broke forth, and he was made rhe victim of an assault, having his head severely cut by a brick thrown at him.”

The Greensboro’ Free Press says that in Caroline county “the backbone of the colored phalanx is broken, and future elections will show a decided split in the negro vote. Though the republican voted them nearly all this time, they had to bribe two score in the second district, and, we learned, pay for them in the fifth district, from preachers down.”

The Easton (Talbot county) Star (democrat) says: “The republicans of this county spent cords of money on the election, but it didn’t win. The democrats let the negroes slide, and bent all their energies in polling their own white vote. That they secured with few exceptions, and that is what gave them a glorious victory.”

The same paper says: “Two negroes have been to a lady in town since Tuesday to engage a mistress. They said the democrats had won the election, and they were told if the republicans lost all the colored peop e would be made slaves again. They wanted to be in time to engage a good home.”

The Princess Ann (Somerset county) Marylander says: “We noticed that the colored men voted open ballots. This was something novel, and we inquired of a colored man whose confidence we have and he told us that they had been told that we would all have to vote open ballots this election.” He would not tell us who told them this. We noticed that the colored voters, under the leadership of their white allies drew the color line as faint as they could draw it. and, as we noticed it, we thought that when the day comes that this would react on them to their detriment they will howl and rave at the democrats for drawing the color line. We therefore put it on the record as their own initiatory act now, when they can’t deny it.”

Text copyright The Baltimore Sun courtesy the ProQuest Historical Newspaper Database via Enoch Pratt Free Library.