Negroes Have Day at Fair
The first day ever set aside for negroes by the East Texas Cotton Palace directors proved a big success and it will likely be made an annual event.
The negroes held forth at the fair Wednesday and carried their program over in the evening when they gave several quartet numbers and entertained the large crowd present. Negroes came from many points and the program they gave was equally enjoyed by the whites. They swelled the afternoon attendance considerably.
C. H. Waller, head of Prairieview Normal and State Extension Supervisor was the principal speaker.
J. W. Smothers, head of St. Paul school, Malakoff also spoke.
Waller is one of the leading negro educators of the state and gave the negroes much good advice. He urged them to become home owners and thus become useful citizens. A roving negro is worth nothing to society nor the community and he told them to get a toe hold on a small tract of land and take advantage of the instruction offered by the extension service. A negro without a home of his own is a liability to the community he told his hearers.
In the afternoon J. W. Smothers of Malakoff made a short talk to the negroes as did Henrietta Ray, supervisor for the Jeans foundation. Smothers also brought his quartet along. Chandler and Mabank also furnished negro quartets during the day.
Waller was well pleased with the agricultural advancement made by the negroes in this county as shown by their exhibits. He urged the negroes to take advantage of the oppertunity to get a county demonstration agent of their own race and promised them that if the county would contribute $300 toward the salary the state would contribute the balance.
The Athens negro band paraded downtown and later gave a concert at the Palace grounds.
Transcribed by Laura Gregory Calvin August 15 2003
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