Metropolis Weekly Gazette
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The Metropolis Weekly Gazette was published every Friday in Metropolis, Illinois, a city located along the Ohio River in Massac County in southern Illinois. The paper is believed to have run from 1889 to 1938. The editor and founder of the paper was Joseph B. McCrary. Miranda J. McCrary, McCrary's wife, worked as the paper's manager. McCrary, born in Tennessee in 1858, was the son of George B. McCrary, Sr., and Harriet McCrary. He was the Reverend of First Missionary Baptist Church and an officer with Mount Olive Baptist Association of Southern Illinois. The McCrary family owned a confectionary store, and sold and delivered ice and coal.
The Weekly Gazette focused mostly on local and statewide news, but also included national and international news. The paper covered a variety of topics, including church activities, deaths, illnesses, crime, travel, politics, and popular science. Women's interest articles and a humor section regularly appeared. Frequent advertisements in the paper for tourist destinations reachable by rail reflect the city of Metropolis's role as a transportation hub given its prime location between the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, and the convergence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Ads promoted "Winter Sojourns" to destinations like New Orleans, Florida, California, Panama, and Cuba.
The paper included regular coverage of the activities of prominent African American figure Booker T. Washington. In available issues from 1913 to January 1917, the paper included a section entitled, "Afro-American Cullings." Contributors to the section advocated for and reported on the social advancement of African Americans, and discussed a variety of topics, such as the growth of Chicago's Black business community, public health, and community housing and sanitation. The section also provided news of educational opportunities available to African Americans and promoted the pursuit of industrial education at establishments like the Hampton Institute in Virginia. Articles highlighted the activities of African American soldiers fighting in World War I and, in 1919, included coverage of increased violence against African Americans by white people in Chicago and in cities across the United States during the period known as the "Red Summer."
While the Weekly Gazette published some issues of eight pages, consulted issues show the paper largely followed the formatting of most early Black newspapers, which scholar Juliet Walker describes as "consisting of four pages of six columns with headlines spanning only the columns" (Walker, "The Promised Land: The Chicago Defender and the Black Press in Illinois: 1862-1970," in The Black Press in the Middle West, 1865-1985, ed. by Henry Lewis Suggs, Greenwood Press, 1996, 20). However, formatting changes begin to appear with the March 15, 1918 issue, with front-page headlines spanning multiple columns.
In explaining the newspaper's motto, "Hew to the Line. Let the Chips Fall Where They May," Preston L. Mcrary, Jr., the great-grandson of Joseph McCrary, provided the following analogy given to him by his father: "If you want to chop down a tree with an axe, you must first determine where you want to cut it. Once you determine where you're going to cut it — the line — you must chop on that pre-determined line....The chips of wood fall wherever they fall" (McCrary, "Rev. Joseph B. McCrary impacted Metropolis' history," Metropolis Planet, February 17, 2016).