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)

Hotel Elkhart vs. Hotel Goshen

The Hotel Elkhart clearly had higher-quality accommodations in 1958 than either of the Goshen hotels: the Hotel Hattle on East Lincoln Avenue or the Hotel Goshen at Main and Clinton streets (where First State Bank now has a branch). But a 24-year-old student at Goshen Biblical Seminary (then based at GC) named Victor Stoltzfus was troubled by rumors among GC students that Marian Anderson had to go to Elkhart for her lodging.

So a few days after Anderson’s performance, he personally went downtown and spoke with the manager of the Hotel Goshen. In the 2012 GC report, Stoltzfus says, “‘I asked why an artist of the stature of Marian Anderson would not be welcome in a Goshen motel or hotel. He told me that several investors put their life savings into the hotel he managed. He also said that salesmen and others coming to Goshen would avoid a hotel in which a black person had slept. He really feared loss of business.’”

Stoltzfus, who would go on to serve as president of Goshen College from 1984 to 1996, told me recently that the manager “had an anguished look on his face as I talked to him—and he was really trying to persuade me that he was being a reasonable person.”

So, regardless of the accommodations quality question, it appears that in the 1950s GC officials “knew better” than to even ask Goshen hotel owners or managers to provide lodging for their distinguished African American guests.

Goshen News poll in 1961

A few years later the Goshen News conducted a poll of the town’s two hotels and four other overnight establishments; the article appeared February 7, 1961. Under the headline “Negroes Not Exactly Welcome Here As Overnight Guests, Poll Reveals,” the first sentence reads: “Goshen residents have been pointing an accusing finger at the South for its integration inadequacies but a poll of Goshen motels and hotels today revealed that Negroes aren’t exactly welcome as overnight guests in the city of Goshen.”

The News reported that just one manager (of the Hattle) had recently provided overnight lodging to an African American. The other five were either forthright about their denial of accommodations to African Americans or declined to disclose their policies.

In response to that article, Ray Keim, pastor of East Goshen Mennonite Church at the time, wrote the following letter that appeared in the News on Valentine’s Day 1961: “This is to commend you for your bravery in releasing the facts about the attitude of hotel and motel owners in Goshen relative to accepting Negroes as overnight guests. I believe that a gentle but persistent pressure such as you applied in that report will help awaken consciences without causing violent reactions that only do harm. God bless you for your stand.” Keim of Goshen died this past April.

Text Only
Letters to the Editor
  • 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

  • Chaos defines the State Board of Education It has been my pleasure for the past year to serve as the newest member of the Indiana State Board of Education. I bring a fresh perspective to the board as an attorney and business executive who served as director of economic development under forme

    July 18, 2014

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 12, 2014: There’s only one aspect of marriage There’s only one aspect of marriageIt saddens me when many so-called Christians interpret the word of God incorrectly by using their own reasoning without seeking the Holy Spirit’s true word given to us according to John 14:16,17 and 26. And it bothe

    July 12, 2014

  • OPN GN140613 Coats_Dan_Senator OFFICIAL POINT OF VIEW: Stand for religious freedom The Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that marked an important development in the ongoing national debate on religious freedom.In a 5-4 decision, the Court ruled that the contraception coverage mandate, imposed by the Obama Administration under

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 10, 2014: Obama is no honest Abe Obama is no honest AbeIn regard to Charles Mumaw’s letter to the editor (The Goshen News, July 3), lets see, what did the president say about Obamacare?1. “If you like your insurance you can keep it,” and2. “If you like your doctor you can keep him.”

    July 10, 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
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results