(l - r): In 1905 Charles Stewert, also known as “Col. Midnight,” reported on the state of public schools in the American south with his front page column, “Midnight’s Musings.”; 1907; A 1956 sample of Lula Jones Garrett’s column, “Gadabouting in the USA.”; 1957. (All photos from the AFRO Archives)

By AFRO Staff

Black Americans experienced a new level of freedom as automobiles and public transportation evolved over time. Though it was dangerous to be a Black American on the wrong road at any time of day, the AFRO had courageous reporters who sent in updates on politics, education and the everyday lives of Black Americans. 

For years Col. Midnight, a pseudonym for author Charles Stewart, sent in his “Midnight’s Musings” column, reporting on the state of Black America. Stewart gave reports on public school systems he saw around the country, spoke on lawlessness in America, and either in jest or all seriousness took readers on his many failed attempts to become a Mason. 

“Gadabouting in the USA” was another popular column in the AFRO, proving that women could travel, cover events and send in articles as well as any man of the day. AFRO readers in the 20th century became accustomed to the work of Lula Jones Garrett, who tracked social events in the Black community along with political happenings and issues that affected women.

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