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00:00:27 - Liberian president's visit to Philadelphia in 1921

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Partial Transcript: Oh, here's an article from the "Philadelphia Record."

Segment Synopsis: Summers discusses a "Philadelphia Record" article that he provided at the beginning of the interview, on the President of Liberia's visit to Philadelphia in May, 1921. Summers, pictured partially in the article, served on the escort committee. Hardy shows two additional photographs to Summers and they continue to try to identify individuals. One photo is from April 1935, showing a figure hung in effigy. Hardy then asks Summers if he recalls Harry Bass.

Keywords: "Philadelphia Record"; 1921; Harry Bass (lawyer, first African American state representative); Harry Dougherty; J. Hampton Moore ("Hampy", Mayor of Philadelphia, 1920-24); Philadelphia international affairs; Warren G. Harding

Subjects: African Americans--Politics and government.; Liberia; Politicians

00:02:51 - The Armstrong Association

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Partial Transcript: Let me, uh, run a couple of pictures by you, first thing, and maybe you can give me a hand identifying some of these people.

Segment Synopsis: Looking at a photograph, Summers identifies Hobson Reynolds, Ed Henry, Harry Bass and other prominent Blacks who lived in Philadelphia in the early 1900s from multiple pictures. Many of these figures were affiliated with the Armstrong Association. The Armstrong Association strove to better African American lives and opportunity.

Keywords: Armstrong Association (Philadelphia affiliate of the National Urban League); DeHaven Hinkson; Edward Henry (2nd black magistrate, appointed in 1925); Evelyn Crawford; George Jenkins; Harry Bowden; Hobson R. Reynolds; Jefferson Club; Luther Cunningham; Mercer Lewis (lawyer, civic leader); Political figures; Thomas W. S. Logan; Wayne Hopkins (director of the Armstrong Association)

Subjects: African American leadership; African Americans--Societies, etc.

00:08:13 - John Asbury, pawn to the Vare Machine

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Partial Transcript: How about John Asbury?

Segment Synopsis: According to Summers, John Asbury, Black leader of the 30th Ward, was a very influential African American politician, but "was just a puppet for the Vares." He tells the story of how Asbury brought out the Black vote on election days for the Republican party.

Keywords: 30th Ward (Philadelphia, Pa.); Asbury's Bank; Citizens and Southern Bank (Philadelphia, Pa.); George Wharton Pepper; John Asbury (African American lawyer, state representative); Joseph N. Pew, Jr.; Vare Machine; Varick Temple; William Scott Vare

Subjects: African American leadership; African American politicians.; African Americans--Politics and government.

00:11:12 - On G. Edward Dickerson's run for the U.S. Senate in 1928

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Partial Transcript: When Vare's elected and they refuse to seat him?

Segment Synopsis: G. Edward Dickerson practiced law in Philadelphia. Dickerson ran for U.S. Senate in 1928. A close race between George Wharton Pepper and William Vare gave Dickerson the opportunity to prevent William Vare's election. Dickerson, one of the first African American men to run for Senate, declined a bribe of $10,000 to end his campaign.

Keywords: Cornelia Brice Pinchot; G. Edward Dickerson; George Wharton Pepper; U.S. Senators; William Scott Vare

Subjects: African American leadership; African American politicians.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Political campaigns; United States. Congress. Senate.

00:13:30 - Summers’ work for the 1920 Harding presidential campaign

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Partial Transcript: Of course, uh, I remember doing the Harding campaign when, uh--(coughs)--Harding was running...

Segment Synopsis: During Warren G. Harding's 1920 campaign Summers, William S. Scarborough, and Charles Cotro worked for Harding. These men traveled the country to gain Black votes for Harding. Summers and the other two men offered incentives for voting for Harding such as postmaster jobs or $500.

Keywords: Charles Cotro; Colonel Leonard Wood; Frank Orren Lowden; Harding Campaign; Harry Dougherty; Republican Party; Southern politics; Warren G. Harding; William S. Scarborough

Subjects: African Americans--Politics and government.; Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923.; Political campaigns

00:16:22 - On Summers' political role in Philadelphia during the 1930s

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Partial Transcript: Now, by the time you got to Philadelphia you were uh, politically pretty savvy, right?

Segment Synopsis: Summers shares that he preferred to influence things from behind the scenes rather then be in the political spotlight. He once ran for legislature in the 30th Ward of Philadelphia in 1934. Summers won the Democratic ticket but lost to the Republican elect. He also served as a member of the Advisory of the Democratic National Committee.

Keywords: 30th Ward (Philadelphia, Pa.); Democratic National Party; Democratic Party; Jacob Rascob (head of the "Negroes for Smith" 1928 campaign in the northeastern states); National Advisory Committee; Political realignment

Subjects: African American leadership; African American politicians.; African Americans--Politics and government.

GPS: The 30th Ward of Philadelphia
Map Coordinates: 39.942206, -75.177598
00:17:55 - More on the presidential election of 1920

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Partial Transcript: Now, what--the, uh, the Republican Party still held the, the Negro vote in 1928 in Philadelphia.

Segment Synopsis: Summers recalls that the Republican Party carried the African American vote through the first Roosevelt campaign in 1932, observing that white southerners all voted Democratic at this time, while Blacks voted Republican. Summers attributes his loyalty to the Republicans to his grandfather, a prominent A.M.E. bishop, who was active in the party. The Democratic Party in the South stood for white supremacy and segregation, which pushed Blacks into the Republican Party.

Keywords: African American vote; Ben Davis; Franklin Delano Roosevelt; Political realignment; Roosevelt campaign; Tom Church; Warren G. Harding

Subjects: African Americans--Politics and government.; Democratic Party (U.S.); Harding, Warren G. (Warren Gamaliel), 1865-1923.; Political campaigns; Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )

00:19:11 - Black politics in the early 1920s

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Partial Transcript: Hm. Now, early in the 1920s--I'm interested in, um, the politicals--Black politics in Philadelphia before the, the Al Smith campaign in '28.

Segment Synopsis: Summers says that prior to the administrations of two Philadelphian Mayors, J. Hampton Moore and S. Davis Wilson, African Americans worked menial jobs in the city government, such as porters. Moore served as mayor from 1920 to 1923 and again from 1932 to 1935; Wilson, Moore's successor served as mayor from 1936 to 1939. Both Moore and Wilson gave African Americans better jobs "behind desks," according to Summers. Ed Henry, an African-American magistrate, came to power during Prohibition and later switched his party affiliation to Democrat.

Keywords: "Colorism"; Amos Scott (first black magistrate in Philadelphia, elected in 1921); Edward Henry (2nd black magistrate, appointed in 1925); Employment discrimination; J. Hampton Moore ("Hampy", Mayor of Philadelphia, 1920-24); John Asbury (African American lawyer, state representative); Politics before equal rights; Prohibition; S. Davis Wilson (Mayor of Philadelphia, 1936-39)

Subjects: African American leadership; African American politicians.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Discrimination in employment.

00:22:48 - Philadelphia's African American newspapers

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Partial Transcript: Now, uh, before I get into some of the--more names here, you say that during the 1920s you wrote for some of the newspapers--

Segment Synopsis: Summers talks about Philadelphia's three African American newspapers, "The Philadelphia American," the "Public Journal," and the "Philadelphia Tribune." Summers edited the "Public Journal," owned by Arthur Lynch. The "Public Journal" opposed the "Philadelphia Tribune" politically, with a main focus of fighting the Vare Machine. Summers retrieves some editorials clipped from these newspapers.

Keywords: "Philadelphia Independent" (African American newspaper founded in 1931); "Philadelphia Tribune"; "Public Journal"; "The Philadelphia American"; 18th Amendment, United States Constitution; Amos Scott (first black magistrate in Philadelphia, elected in 1921); Arthur Lynch; Augustine Baptiste; Austin Norris (lawyer, newspaper publisher); Charles G. Dawes; Christopher Perry; Edward Henry (2nd black magistrate, appointed in 1925); Graham Dougherty; Mrs. Graham Dougherty (née Maria Frazer); Mrs. Nicholas Roosevelt (née Emily Wharton Sinkler); Philadelphia newspapers; Vare Machine

Subjects: African American newspapers.; African American politicians.

00:33:22 - Austin Norris’s arrival in Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: You around when, uh, Aus Norris, uh, bought the "Independent"?

Segment Synopsis: Summers talks about Black lawyer Austin Norris. A personal friend of Summers', Norris stayed with Summers when he first came to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh. As a young lawyer he joined up with Mercer Lewis and opened an office on 15th and Lombard, where Philadelphia’s socially and politically elite African American community frequently gathered.

Keywords: "Philadelphia Independent" (African American newspaper founded in 1931); 15th and Lombard Streets (Philadelphia, Pa.); Austin Norris (lawyer, newspaper publisher); Citizens Republican Club; Fritz Pollard; John Sparks (Attorney); Lincoln University; Mercer Lewis (lawyer, civic leader); Norris and Lewis (law firm); Paul Robeson; Thurgood Marshall

Subjects: African American lawyers.; African American leadership; African American newspapers.

00:36:00 - Austin Norris's success

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Partial Transcript: So how, how did he rise to become, you know, such a--what do you attribute Aus' success, or how did he rise from, you know, young lawyer fresh in town...

Segment Synopsis: Summers says that Norris was a born leader. "You could meet him this minute, well you're a friend the next," he says. Norris excelled at practicing law, and his personality and abilities enabled him to rise up in the 1930s as a Black leader in Philadelphia's Democratic Party. Hardy and Summers discuss Walter Gay, another politically active African American man that Hardy has spoken with for this oral history project.

Keywords: Austin Norris (lawyer, newspaper publisher); Democratic Party; Democratic Party leaders; Politics; Walter Gay

Subjects: African American lawyers.; African American leadership; African American newspapers.

00:39:11 - Summers’ and Norris’ political aspirations and African American political advocates

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Partial Transcript: Did you all ever talk about politics, or what your--

Segment Synopsis: Summers talks about the efforts to place more African Americans behind desks in City Hall. In the early 1900s all but a few African Americans only received menial jobs from the Republican leaders. There were a few African Americans who worked as police officers or firemen, including in Engine Company No. 11 on South Street.

Keywords: Austin Norris (lawyer, newspaper publisher); Boies Penrose; Edward Henry (2nd black magistrate, appointed in 1925); Engine Company No. 11 (Philadelphia Fire Department); Herbert E. Millen; Vare Machine; William Scott Vare

Subjects: African American leadership; African American politicians.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Discrimination in employment.

00:43:18 - Political successes and defeats in the 1920s and 1930s

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Partial Transcript: What would, what would you consider your early victories and your early setbacks?

Segment Synopsis: African American political progress depended heavily on who was mayor of Philadelphia. J. Hampton Moore gave African Americans jobs in City Hall and helped break away from the corrupt Vare political machine. After Moore, other Republican mayors did very little to help the Blacks in Philadelphia.

Keywords: Bernard Samuel (Mayor of Philadelphia, 1948-52); Harry A. Mackey (Mayor of Philadelphia, 1928-31); J. Hampton Moore ("Hampy", Mayor of Philadelphia, 1920-24); Sammy Barnes; Vare Machine

Subjects: African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Discrimination in employment.

GPS: Philadelphia's City Hall
Map Coordinates: 39.952555, -75.164107
00:44:47 - Summers' work for Philadelphia bootlegger Max "Boo Boo" Hoff

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Partial Transcript: What were you doing in the--what were you doing, um, professionally at that point?

Segment Synopsis: Summers talks about working for bootlegger and boxing promoter Max "Boo Boo" Hoff, after he started a family in the 1920s. Summers worked as waiter and bartender. While working for Boo Boo Hoff, Summers also contributed to some writing and continued to be active in politics but in the background which he preferred.

Keywords: Bootlegging; Jonathan St. Clair (“West Indian Johnny”, introduced Numbers into Philadelphia, Pa.); Max "Boo Boo" Hoff

Subjects: Alcohol--Law and legislation; Distilling, illicit; Prohibition

00:47:18 - On the political turmoil of the 1930s, militant African Americans, and the Pennsylvania Equal Rights Bill

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Partial Transcript: There seems to be a real period of ferment.

Segment Synopsis: The lack of African American jobs led to civil unrest in 1935. Summers talks about Dr. John Rice, who started the "Do not buy where you cannot work" campaign, which opened up a few jobs. Believing that they deserved more, more militant Blacks strove to gain greater influence in Philadelphia City Hall. Summers then talks about the passage of the Equal Rights Bill of 1935 and how Governor George Earle "opened up the floodgates for Negroes" in state government, employing them in unprecedented numbers.

Keywords: "Do not buy where you cannot work"; Civil protest; Columbia Avenue (Philadelphia, Pa.); Dr. John Rice; Edward M. "Eddie" Hazell; Employment discrimination; Equal Rights Bill, 1935 (Pennsylvania); George Howard Earle, III (Governor of Pennsylvania, 1935-39); Girard Bank

Subjects: African American leadership; African American politicians.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Discrimination in employment.; Race discrimination.

00:52:16 - On African American work and reform in the 1920s and 1930s

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Partial Transcript: Let me run another--do you remember a fellow named James Stimmons?

Segment Synopsis: Summers states that African Americans monopolized certain jobs. Many worked as servers, barbers, and as domestic workers in others' houses. Multiple groups fought to reform the workplace for African Americans such as the Association for Equalizing Industrial Opportunities and the League of Civic and Political Reform. Individual African Americans fought for work reform, like Black postal worker James Stemmons who broke up discriminatory practices in the post office.

Keywords: Association for Equalizing Industrial Opportunities; Domestic work; Employment discrimination; Factory work; Hotel work; James Stemmons; Job discrimination; League of Civic and Political Reform; Post Office—employment

Subjects: African American leadership; African American politicians.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Politics and government.; Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movements--United States; Discrimination in employment.; Race discrimination.

00:59:43 - On the conservatism of Old Philadelphians

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Partial Transcript: I'm interested--now, you--last time we were talking, you said that Philadelphia, you know, always more conservative.

Segment Synopsis: After World War I, African Americans in other northern cities became actively engaged in seeking political rights, with racial consciousness growing. Cities with large African American populations, like New York and Chicago, started to take action. Summers recalls that Black Philadelphians on the other hand clung to their traditional values. Old Philadelphians accepted the few political roles African Americans had.

Keywords: Amos Scott (first black magistrate in Philadelphia, elected in 1921); Douglass Hospital; Hotel Brotherhood; Old Philadelphians (O.P.s), conservative; Political rights; Racial consciousness; Republican Party (Philadelphia)

Subjects: African Americans--Politics and government.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.

01:03:04 - On Marcus Garvey in Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: Last time I was here, too, you mentioned, um, the, uh--Garvey's coming to Philadelphia.

Segment Synopsis: Summers recalls that Marcus Garvey came to Philadelphia and he soon gained a substantial following politically. Garvey brought his ideas to Philadelphia during a time when political leaders "were dormant" and not providing Blacks with what they deserved.

Keywords: Austin Norris (lawyer, newspaper publisher); Black Star Line; Lionel Francis; Marcus Garvey

Subjects: African American leadership; African American newspapers.; African American politicians.