Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 21st, 2010
For those that think this is a political headline, and a political topic, you are only partially correct. I am not writing about the Oakland, California, AfricanAmerican group, the Black Panthers of the 1960s. No, I’m looking at the records of 1890s’ Black Panthers, specifically the ones called Santers, in North Carolina.
As can be seen from the following newspaper articles from the fall of 1890, the discussion then centered on the enormous all-black felids, locally called Santers, which had as their diet various animals and an unusual extra item, straightforwardly stated to be “negro children.”
So, were these huge cats actually extending their food resources into the human population and picking off little AfricanAmerican offspring, exclusively? Or more logically, should we place this descriptor at the feet of the racism of the news reporters of the era, who perhaps consciously were trying to scare the post-slavery Africans, now Americans, into “staying in line”?
The above was the “contemporary” view of a slave mother and her baby, in June 20, 1860, Harper’s Weekly.
The Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, North Carolina) September 11, 1890, page 3.
The Carolina Watchman (Salisbury, North Carolina) October 9, 1890 , page 3.
My thanks to Argentina’s Fabio Picasso, who shared these news items with me.