Fact or Fiction? Shreveport Used to Have a ‘Whites Only’ Newspaper
Did you know that once upon a time, long, long ago that Shreveport had a periodical named, 'The Caucasian?' The newspaper even had an advertisement for OPIUM. My, oh my, how times have changed! If you look closely at the image above, sourced from ChroniclingAmerica.loc.gov, the edition I found was from the morning of December 2nd, 1900!
The volume I found was eight pages long and consisted of legislative news from Washington D.C., advertisements, lifestyle and fashion news, public announcements, event and society reports, and even an editorial on women's suffrage and whether or not slot machines would/should become legal in New Orleans. I don't know about you but it sure looks like gambling has been a bone of contention for well over 100 years in Louisiana. I found it fascinating to see advertisements for liquor, including ads for Balke's Live Oak Whiskey and Kahn's Liquor and Grocery Co. located on the corner of Texas and Spring Street.
Hit the link to explore the entire paper. Keep in mind that you might need your reading glasses AND have to zoom in. When you do, pay special attention to the bottom left corner of page three. That's where you'll find the advertisement for OPIUM.
While it's interesting to read about the thoughts and attitudes regarding gambling, drugs, and spirits in Shreveport at the time, what about the actual name of the paper? Is it possible that 'caucasian' had a different meaning 120 years ago? A quick Google search says no. This is what the Library of Congress had to say about it:
In 1889, the Shreveport Daily Democrat was renamed and subsequently issued as the Daily Caucasian and Weekly Caucasian. The name change reflected its support for black disfranchisement and white control of Louisiana’s state government. The weekly edition also became the official state organ of white Populists.
Wow. Sure, I understand we're talking about something that took place over 100 years ago, however, seeing the purpose behind the paper, I still can't help but be shocked. I know racial equality is and will remain a hot topic, and when you see things like this, you can understand why.
On a side note, 'The Caucasian' was still in print when the time capsule that was recently unearthed was placed in the Confederate monument that used to sit in front of the Caddo Parish Courthouse in downtown Shreveport in 1905. Do you think it's possible that they preserved a copy?