Ahoskie Kiwanians played by own racial rules

“Harvey Jones is a young Negro Navy veteran who grows peanuts on 18 acres his father owns near Ahoskie, N.C. Two months ago Harvey was approached by a white man selling lottery tickets for a 1947 Cadillac. A good Southern Negro, Harvey asked if  ‘anyone’ could get in. The man said yes. Harvey bought a ticket.

“At Ahoskie’s Kiwanis Festival, Harvey’s ticket number was drawn. But the Kiwanians did not want a Negro to win. Three men went outside and explained to Harvey that he had made a mistake. The lottery was for white folks. They gave him his dollar back. After another drawing the car went to Dr. Charles Townes, a Waverly, Va., dentist. That, so far as Ahoskie’s Kiwanians were concerned, settled the matter.

“But a month later the news leaked out and the nation got highly indignant. Telegrams and letters startled the fly-specked town. Thundered the Atlanta Constitution, ‘The South just hasn’t got an excuse for this one.’

“Pressure from Kiwanis International induced the Ahoskie chapter to promise Harvey a new car anyway….”

– From Life magazine, July 28, 1947

According to Jet magazine, Harvey Jones received instead a check for $3,200, the value of the Cadillac.

5 thoughts on “Ahoskie Kiwanians played by own racial rules”

  1. OK, people do stuff and it just disappear into microfilm reels at the local library any longer. Keep your pants up, your Halloween costumes tasteful and your racism under control. The internet remembers.

    The car is rust. Mr. Jones is probably in a cemetery. Only the embarrassment and sin remains.

  2. Well Mr. William Hamilton, the car i’am sure is rust and Mr. Harvey Jones probably gone too but 66yrs later the embarrassment is still relevant. Dust can be swept under a rug for a long time but just when you think it’s forgotten someone discover the hidden mess all over again.

  3. Mr. Jones was my cousin. There were influential Whites who stood up to the injustice and forced the Ahoskie Kiwanis to give Mr. Jones compensation. His widow lives in the house that came from that. His children have done well, in financial services and education. Oh, by the way, any car was hard to get in 1947 as car production had just restarted after WWII. My father waited two years for his order.

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