Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Letters to the Editor

September 23, 2013

READER POINT OF VIEW: Coming to Terms with Goshen’s ‘Sundown Town’ History

(Continued)

‘Race Relations in Goshen’

Offering an African American perspective on Goshen’s racist reputation in a January 1987 Dr. King Day speech to the Goshen Noon Kiwanis was John Stith (also deceased), who had begun serving as Goshen’s postmaster in 1977.

In an address titled “Race Relations in Goshen,” Stith said that when he was a high school student in South Bend in the late 1930s and early 1940s, he traveled here more than once for the Goshen Relays. “Regardless of whether you won or lost,” he said, “you had to leave town quick.”

After the speech, a newspaper reporter informed Stith that the following sentence appeared in the Goshen Chamber of Commerce’s introduction to the Maple City as late as 1978 in the Goshen City Directory: “Crime is at a minimum and contributing in large measure to the absence of crime is the character of the population—97.5 percent native-born white, 2 percent foreign-born white, .5 percent non-white.” Stith said “it does not surprise me” that the quotation appeared in the ’78 directory.

Recent research indicates that the wording of the end of that sentence in the 1939 to 1955 directories was: “… and no Negro population” instead of “.5 percent non-white.” By 1962 it said simply: “97.5 percent native-born white, 2.5 percent foreign-born white.” Soon thereafter “.5” was added.

Also in the ’39—and ’37—Goshen directories was an explanation of symbols: “Colored persons are designated by ©. The publishers are very careful in using this symbol but do not assume any responsibility in case of error.”

Travel nightmares for African Americans

Even in the early 1960s, Stith also noted in his ’87 address, his family would always pack a lunch when traveling south out of South Bend “because there was no place to eat along the way—unless you happened to come across a black community.”

Beginning in 1936, according to Black America Web (April 24, 2013), an African American New Yorker named Victor Green began publishing The Negro Motorist Green Book, a guidebook for African American travelers in the United States. The site says: “Because of the racist conditions that existed from segregation, blacks needed a reference manual to guide them to integrated or black-friendly establishments.”

The book’s introduction included this statement: “There will be a day sometime in the near future when this guide will not have to be published. That is when we as a race will have equal opportunities and privileges in the United States.” The last edition of The Green Book was printed in 1964 after the passage of the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

The Aug. 28 News transcript of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech contains this sentence: “We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.”

Text Only
Letters to the Editor
  • LETTERS FOR AUG. 14, 2014: News should be ashamed of Millersburg coverage News should be ashamed of Millersburg coverageHere we are, the town of Millersburg, a small community in southeastern Elkhart County. I know it would appear that not much happens here that’s news worthy, yet this sleepy little town with a great schoo

    August 14, 2014

  • GN140801 David Long mug POINT OF VIEW: States need to take control There is a growing national awareness, and corresponding excitement, over a state-led effort to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. As someone who believes in this effort, which is authorized under Article V of the Constitution, I wanted to

    August 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 31, 2014: Van Gilst’s letter was misleading Van Gilst’s letterwas misleadingCarl Van Gilst’s letter in the July 26 Goshen News (“It now takes three to do one man’s job”) has inaccurate information and misleads readers.He correctly states that for many years Goshen had one employee handling ord

    July 31, 2014

  • LETTERS: Churches shouldn’t compromise God’s word

    Thanks be to God that another church has enough backbone to face an evil opposition. God’s word hasn’t changed, only people have changed. The Bible clearly teaches this truth in the coming years. We are so disa

    July 30, 2014

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 26, 2014: It now takes three to do one man’s job It now takes three to do one man’s jobFor many years Goshen ordinance violations were handled by a single person answering directly to the mayor. It was a very efficient and effective system. Many violations were corrected by a phone call or visit wi

    July 26, 2014

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 25, 2014: Jesus, not gay marriage is the path to prosperity Jesus, not gay marriage is the path to prosperityI am writing in response to Mr. (Dave) Stephens’ letter (The Goshen News, July 10) titled, “Supporting gay marriage a boost for states.” I do not agree with gay marriage, but everyone has free choice.

    July 25, 2014

  • OPN GN140613 Coats_Dan_Senator POINT OF VIEW: U.S. and the world needs to act on this watershed moment in history The tragic death of 298 people on board Malaysian Airlines flight 17 in a wheat field in eastern Ukraine marks a moment when words of disapproval and expressions of grief are not enough. This is a moment when action must follow the outrage and rhetor

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140723 David Kolbe mug READER POINT OF VIEW: A bridge to the common good I am a candidate for the Indiana House of Representatives, District 22. I take this opportunity to offer a vision for a better political course in our state, and our nation.Polarization and partisanship have overtaken politics. It is not only evident

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pence not supporting Ritz We don’t envy the box Gov. Mike Pence has put himself in. Less than a year ago, he personally voiced a “willingness” to work with Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, acknowledging again the desire of a majority of Hoosier voters to see

    July 20, 2014

  • Time for a change in soccer Time for a change in soccerIn 1978, as an attempt was being made to establish professional soccer in the United States, I had a letter in Sports Illustrated saying soccer’s biggest downside was its lack of scoring.In that letter I also said there was

    July 19, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
US Trying to Verify Video of American's Killing FBI Director Addresses Ferguson Shooting in Utah Raw: Police at Scene of St. Louis Shooting Police: 2 Calif. Boys Planned School Shooting NOLA Police Chief Retires Amid Violent Crimes Lunch Bus Delivers Meals to Kids Out of School Water Bottles Recalled for Safety Researcher Testing On-Field Concussion Scanners Rockets Fired From Gaza, in Breach of Ceasefire Raw: Japanese Military Live Fire Exercise Police, Protesters Clash in Ferguson Independent Autopsy Reveals Michael Brown Wounds Nashville Embraces Motley Crue Obama: 'Time to Listen, Not Just Shout' Lawyer: Gov. Perry Indictment a 'Nasty Attack' Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Crosses Into Ukraine Iowa Man Builds Statue of a Golfer Out of Balls Assange Gets Cryptic About Leaving Embassy in UK Raw: Building Collapse in South Africa, 9 Dead Raw: Pope Francis Meets 'Comfort Women'
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results