|Arthur J. Moore|
Mecklenberg County, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina
|Occupation||Laundromat Service Man|
Arthur J. Moore was an African American male born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1889. He was born into a family with 16 children and lived a modest life on a farm that was rented by his father. His father was from Mississippi and his mother from Alabama. He grew up in Camp Polk and graduated high school, although it is said that his education was comparable to that of a seventh grade student. He attempted to become a tailor and attended college, but the trade was no longer offered so he decided not to pursue it. He obtained a job in 1909 at a local laundromat, earning $6 per week at a time when the average wages per week were $8.42. He married his wife, Glendora, had his first son and moved to Riverton in 1925, but did not have a job so he moved back to Camp Polk with his family. He found a job as a presser in a laundromat there and began to earn $9 a week which helped him support his young family and newly rented apartment. He proceeded to building his own eight-room house, but could not afford the costs of it, especially since there were no federal loans and reverted to the apartment lifestyle. When he was not working, he was at church, lodge and organization meetings. He stated that 16 children was too much so he had 3 children. Their names were John, William and Arthur. Arthur graduated high school while John and William did not. He died when he in 1947 (at the age of 57) from coronary thrombosis.
Issues Related to Arthur J. Moore
Birth Control in the 1900’s
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was a lack of knowledge of proper birth control practices. Of the practices known, very few were taken advantage of by the population. It was thought in some places that if a woman took a “quinine pill every four hours a few days before she menstruated,” she wouldn’t become pregnant. Quinine is known to treat malaria and arthritis and has unknown effects on pregnancy and unborn children. It has side effects such as headaches, sweating, nausea as well as more serious effects such as blurred vision and low blood sugar. Often times birth control was not taken advantage of because of religious beliefs but in the case of African Americans who worked on farms, bigger families meant bigger “work forces.”(Lawrence, 27.) In the early 1900s, there were some clubs that emerged that spoke of “sexual hygiene” for women and more safe options for birth control but these were often looked down upon.
African American Health
Although it may be thought that African Americans with lower incomes would have lower quality health care, the opposite is true. African Americans who had higher income, white collar jobs, had lower average life spans and qualities of life. However, there was major differences in the health care for whites vs. blacks. The average life span for white individuals was almost a decade longer than blacks. (61.5 years for whites versus 49.8 years for blacks).
Segregation and Educational inequalities for African Americans
African Americans were looked as inferior to whites. The inequalities and discrimination towards African Americans caused many of them to leave the state of north Carolina. “During the first decade of the twentieth century, 27,827 African Americans fled the state.” A very strong example of the inequalities that existed were in the education system. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Jim Crow “separate but equal” laws were in place. However, they were not very equal. African Americans had lower opportunities to attend college and to become skilled workers. They did not have the same opportunities in elementary, middle and high schools either. They often had to travel far distances to attend the closest “black” public school. Schools were not established for African Americans until 1910- almost 50 years after slavery ended. Of those few schools established, the public high school education only was offered for a maximum of two years, whereas in white schools, it was the standard 4 year education. Often times at these African American schools, the education offered that was completed was equivalent to the education of a 12 year old white individual.
Occupations of African Americans
There was a big gap between the occupations of African Americans and White individuals. Most African americans worked as blue collar employees in laundromats, barber shops as maids, etc. This can be attributed to their lower quality education. In fact, it is said that they took up most jobs in the blue collar work force. For example, 90% of the laundromat work force were African Americans in the south. Also, “between 1890 and 1910, 2/3 of the nation’s laundry workers were African American.”
Wadelington, Flora Hatley. "Segregation in the 1920s." Segregation. 2012. Accessed March 03, 2016. http://ncpedia.org/history/20th-Century/segregation-1920s.1,2
Arnesen, Eric. Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History: Volume 1 A-F. New York: Routledge, 2007. 5,6
Lawrence, Sarah Raphael. On Their Own Terms African Americans and Birth Control in the Rural South, 1900-1942. 2007. 3,4
Homsby, Angela Mandee "Cast down but not out": Black manhood and racial uplift in North Carolina, 1900—1930”2003.7,8
Loga, Trevon D. “The Dynamics of African-American Health: A Historical Perspective” 15 March 2014.9,10