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59 3 Re­ in­ ven­ tion as a Re­ spect­ able Demo­ crat, 1884 to 1893 W. T. Scott, pro­ prie­ tor and ed­ i­ tor of the Cairo Ga­ zette, the only paper ed­ ited and ­ printed by col­ ored men in Il­ li­ nois, was in the city yes­ ter­ day at­ tend­ ing the col­ ored cel­ e­ bra­ tion. Mr. ­ Scott’s paper is got­ ten up to good style, is well ed­ ited, Dem­ o­ cratic in pol­ i­ tics and is the of­ fi­ cial paper of Cairo. Quincy Morn­ ing ­ Herald (Demo­ crat), 15 June 1883 Scott was not yet a de­ clared Demo­ crat in 1883 and per­ haps not even in 1884, al­ though his and his ­ editor’s opin­ ions, pub­ lished in the Ga­ zette, cer­ tainly ap­ peared to sug­ gest as much to the ed­ i­ tor of ­ Quincy’s Demo­ crat Morn­ ing­ Herald. Dr. Magee of Me­ trop­ o­ lis was cer­ tain of ­ Scott’s iden­ tity as a Demo­ crat by 1885. No cop­ ies of ­ Scott’s news­ paper have sur­ vived to date pre­ cisely when he of­ fi­ cially made that ­ change. There is lit­ tle doubt, how­ ever, that ­ Scott’s po­ lit­ i­ cal world was chang­ ing, as were his play­ grounds and his busi­ ness af­ fairs in Cairo. His al­ li­ ance with John Bird had ended in ac­ ri­ mony dur­ ing the 1883 Spring­ field con­ ven­ tion, with Bird as ­ firmly at­ tached to the camp of the Re­ pub­ li­ can ­ Party’s Stal­ warts as Scott was to that of its most re­ bel­ lious In­ de­ pen­ dents, al­ though that­ change did not keep the Re­ pub­ li­ can ­ governor of Il­ li­ nois from ap­ point­ ing Scott, as one of the ­ state’s more suc­ cess­ ful black en­ tre­ pren­ eurs, to rep­ re­ sent the state of Il­ li­ nois at the New Or­ leans Cot­ ton Ex­ po­ si­ tion in 1884.1 Per­ sonal at­ tacks­ against him at the 1885 Spring­ field con­ ven­ tion, how­ ever, re­ moved any lin­ ger­ ing doubt that Scott might still be an In­ de­ pen­ dent Re­ pub­ li­ can.­ Scott’s eco­ nomic world also was chang­ ing, but in a di­ rec­ tion that was det­ ri­ men­ tal to his fi­ nan­ cial stand­ ing. The tem­ per­ ance move­ ment, which had ar­ rived as a part of suf­ frage re­ form in the 1860s, had taken on new vigor in the 1880s. If sa­ loons and dance halls could not be le­ gally ­ closed, it was still pos­ sible to in­ crease Reinvention as a Respectable Democrat 60 sa­ loon li­ cense fees and ­ create a fi­ nan­ cial dis­ in­ cen­ tive that en­ cour­ aged ­ lesssuccessful own­ ers to aban­ don the trade. These ­ changes in Cairo and Il­ li­ nois were oc­ cur­ ring at a time when ­ Scott’s po­ lit­ i­ cal base among black vot­ ers in Cairo had­ nearly dis­ ap­ peared with his move to the Dem­ o­ cratic camp and when his pri­ mary at­ ten­ tion was shift­ ing to the state and na­ tional lev­ els. It was a time when Scott­ needed to re­ in­ vent, to mar­ ket him­ self as the ed­ i­ tor of a black news­ paper ­ rather than some­ one de­ pen­ dent upon liq­ uor, gam­ bling, and vice for his live­ li­ hood. Many of his mug­ wump ­ friends who op­ posed party ­ bosses also were re­ form­ ers who ­ equated po­ lit­ i­ cal graft and cor­ rup­ tion with pay­ offs from sa­ loons, broth­ els, and gam­ bling halls. The years 1883 and 1884 had been par­ tic­ u­ larly dif­ fi­ cult for Scott. Leav­ ing the party of Lin­ coln was a mon­ u­ men­ tal ­ change. For many ­ blacks, it was still an im­ pos­ sible op­ tion, be­ cause most ­ blacks con­ sid­ ered aban­ don­ ing the Re­ pub­ li­ can Party as noth­ ing less than an act of trea­ son. Peter Clark, a prom­ i­ nent ed­ u­ ca­ tor, ed­ i­ tor, and po­ lit­ i­ cal ac­ ti­ vist in Cin­ cin­ nati, for ex­ am­ ple, had left the Re­ pub­ li­ can Party for the...


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