Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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Looking for Discrimination in old North Carolina Classified Ads

After reading a recent Washington Post story about the discovery (in digitized newspapers!) of old classified ads with “No Irish Need Apply” statements, and seeing a tweet of a “No Scandinavians Need Apply” ad, I wondered about similar discriminatory statements in old North Carolina newspapers on DigitalNC.

Not surprisingly in a state with such a large population of migrants from Ireland and Scotland, the only mention of “No Irish Need Apply” was either in comic stories reprinted from other papers or news of discrimination in other cities.

It’s difficult to do a keyword search like this without a specific phrase to search for. I tried searching for the phrase “need apply” and got plenty of hits, but nearly all of these were for ads specifying experience or qualities they were looking for in the applicants: “None but experienced men need apply.”

I had a much easier time finding discrimination in ads that said who was eligible to apply. Most ads stated the gender of the applicant they were looking for:

The Pilot (Southern Pines, N.C.), October 27, 1944.

The Pilot (Southern Pines, N.C.), October 27, 1944.

Hickory Democrat, January 13, 1916.

Hickory Democrat, January 16, 1913.

Even more common were ads that specified the race and gender of the applicant. These ads span several decades, demonstrating that in North Carolina there was a clear racial divide in employment throughout much of the twentieth century.

Waynesville Mountaineer, June 4, 1946.

Waynesville Mountaineer, June 4, 1946.

The Enterprise (Williamston, N.C.), October 28, 1904.

The Enterprise (Williamston, N.C.), October 28, 1904.

The News Journal (Raeford, N.C.), April 7, 1955.

The News Journal (Raeford, N.C.), April 7, 1955.

The Duplin Times (Warsaw, N.C.), October 31, 1947.

The Duplin Times (Warsaw, N.C.), October 31, 1947.

The Danbury Reporter, January 28, 1925.

The Danbury Reporter, January 28, 1925.

 


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