“A Case of National Proportions”: The “Jim Crow” Baby Contest of 1947 in Casper, Wyoming
The words and actions of Effie Mae Gray and Augustine Howard indicate that African Americans in cities and towns with small black populations faced and challenged racial discrimination in the years following World War II. Responses to articles that appeared in newspapers across the nation suggest the extent of opposition to such acts of racial discrimination. This paper will analyze these newspaper articles and the statements of Casper residents about the baby contest. It will connect the actions of African Americans in Casper with the actions of African Americans who protested segregation in the South. Like the local people in Alabama and Mississippi who organized and took action in the 1940s and 1950s, Effie Mae Gray, Augustine Howard, and their friends and families organized, wrote letters, and spoke to reporters in order to draw attention to acts of discrimination in Casper and to put pressure on the perpetrators of acts of injustice.
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