The Boneyard

Dr. S.S. Dupee
Evansville, Indiana

The Evansville Boneyard - February, 2008

A graduate from Freedman's Hospital, S.S. Dupee arrived in Evansville in 1898 and quickly became involved in civic and political affairs. His message was conservative and became strongly affiliated with the Republican party. He revived a local chapter of Knights of Tabor and created the R-Line Club for the social, moral, material, and political betterment of Evansville blacks, and because Evans Hall was the only meeting place available to blacks, to create meeting rooms for social enjoyment.

Dupee believe whites hated blacks for the behaviour and not their color. He observed, "the race problem would be solved by teaching children how to develop good habits and by maintaing loyalty to the Republican party. Toward that end he urged school teachers to be aware of their duty to instill spiritual values and school administrators to hire teachers who would care for the welfare of their students, not money. He implored parents to be more observant about their children and ministers to become more aware of literature which would promote proper virtues. He asked whites to reward only those blacks who followed those recommendations"*

Dupee was the first to recognize that his race could control the outcome of local elections but rejected the notion for blacks to be paid for their votes.

An able physician, Dupee's patients often referred to him as "Black Jesus." Dr. S.S. Dupee died at a young age in 1913 due to complications of an appendectomy.

* Cited in Evansville Daily Journal, Christmas Art Supplement, 1903

Photgraph courtesy of Special Collections, University of Southern Indiana

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