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The Little Rock reporter. : (Little Rock, Ark.) 1901-1906
Place of publication:
Little Rock, Ark.
Geographic coverage:
  • Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Singfield & McConico
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1901; ceased in 1906.
  • English
  • African Americans--Arkansas--Newspapers.
  • African Americans.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00799558
  • Arkansas.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204809
  • Little Rock (Ark.)--Newspapers.
  • Continued by: Reporter (Little Rock, Ark.) (non-extant).
  • Description based on: Vol. 3, no. 20 (Feb. 27, 1904).
sn 92050009
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The Little Rock reporter. February 27, 1904 , Image 1


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The Little Rock Reporter

Situated in central Arkansas, Little Rock is home to the Pulaski County seat and state capital. From the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, West 9th Street was the center of the Black community in Little Rock. Due to segregation laws after the Civil War, Black Arkansans had to create their own businesses, churches, and social organizations. These were concentrated on 9th Street, which was surrounded by Black neighborhoods. Included among the groups on 9th Street was the Mosaic Templars of America (MTA), a Black fraternal organization. Originally created to help its community by offering insurance, it later expanded and established a bank and loan and a hospital.

William Augustus Singfield, born in Georgia in 1875, moved to Arkansas around 1898. He quickly came to prominence in Little Rock's Black community, rising to the position of vice-president of the Black-owned Capital City Savings Bank on 9th Street. Singfield later began a real estate business, operating a printing plant behind his real estate office on 9th Street, where he founded the Little Rock Reporter in 1901. The Reporter was a Republican newspaper published every Saturday. It printed a mix of local and national news, with a focus on content relevant to the Black community, including about lynchings and the struggle to provide education for Black Arkansans.

In Little Rock Singfield met another young entrepreneur, John Hamilton McConico. McConico was born in Alabama in 1877, where he later studied and began work in the printing trade in college. Once he gained enough experience, he worked part time as a printer to pay for his college expenses. Before graduation, McConico earned a position at the Atlanta Appeal newspaper in Georgia, working there from 1898 to 1899. He left the Appeal to establish a paper for the Republican Party, the Advance, which he published out of his hometown of Livingston, Alabama for about a year. The same year Singfield started the Reporter in Little Rock, McConico moved to the city to serve on the faculty of Arkansas Baptist College. McConico could not stay away from the newspaper business, and in 1903 he resigned from the college and bought half interest in the Reporter, joining Singfield. In 1904, Singfield left his interests in the paper to McConico after buying a farm and granite quarry. McConico continued running the paper for years, bringing on others to help with the business and taking on work as a bank teller at the Capital City Savings Bank.

The Blue Book of Little Rock and Argenta, Arkansas (Woods, Elias McSails; Little Rock: Central Printing Co., 1907) described McConico's time at the Reporter as "some of the best work of his prolific career. His wide-awake, burning and uncompromising editorials are household treasures throughout the Southwest."

In 1905 McConico hired D. M. Wells, of Tennessee, to manage the printing business. Wells had a degree in printing and had previously managed the News Enterprise in Birmingham, Alabama. He had also been foreman at the Sledge & Wells Printing Company in Memphis, Tennessee, a white-owned company. Wells worked at the Reporter for a year, and then left to start his own printing business on 9th Street.

McConico had also brought on Charles P. King by 1905, and McConico and King ran the paper together until they closed it in 1906. Afterward, McConico began working at the Mosaic Templars, where he eventually became the National Grand Auditor of the organization. In 1913 McConico was the target of an assassin, along with the national grand master of the Mosaic Templars who was killed in the attack. McConico, however, was able to fight off and disarm the assassin. McConico was active in the early civil rights movement, along with the other previous Reporter publisher, Singfield. In 1918, Singfield helped found the Little Rock branch of the NAACP, and McConico became the first president of the branch.

As of this writing, there is only one known surviving issue of the Reporter. This is the case for many Black newspapers, as past archival organizations were often neglectful of preserving the Black community's written heritage, and the newspapers did not survive. When newspapers disappear, Black voices are forever lost, leaving a large gap in the understanding of our history.

Provided by: Arkansas State Archives