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Class Year

2005

Abstract

On Monday, September 28, 1863, the Compiler, Gettysburg Pennsylvania’s Democratic newspaper, published an article taken from the Sussex Messenger about a black man forcing himself onto a white woman. The girl, daughter of Mr. Daniel Messick, was going from her father’s house which was just outside of the town limits to a neighbor’s home when she was suddenly assaulted by a black man. The man jumped out from behind thick brush and grabbed the girl. A struggle ensued and the assailant ripped off the girl’s clothing and put his hand over her mouth in order to keep her from calling for help. Despite the man’s best attempts to silence his victim’s cries, nearby neighbors heard the muffled screams and rushed to the girl’s aid. They arrived just in time to prevent the man from raping the girl. The girl was released from her assailant and the local constabulary took the man into custody. The Adams Sentinel, the Compiler’s Republican counterpart, did not run the story. Although this incident did not take place in Gettysburg, the instance effectively reflects attitudes and perceptions held by two of the area’s largest and most prosperous newspapers: the Adams Sentinel and the Compiler.

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