Margaret Lee Caution

Marker is located on the Northwest Corner of Indiana and Baltic Avenues.

Marker text:

An Atlantic City native, Mrs. Caution, and her late husband Russell, were the first major South Jersey distributors of African-American oriented magazines and newspapers, beginning as far back as the 1930s. Mrs. Caution, a writer and printer, wrote many columns on Atlantic City's black community for the Atlantic City Press and the Afro-American Newspaper. She owned and operated The Victor Press at 1703 Arctic Avenue. Active in civic life, she held top offices in such service organizations as: the NAACP, New Jersey State Federation and the Order of the Eastern Star. She served on the N.J. Civil Rights Commission as an adviser to Governor Alfred E. Driscoll. A lifetime member of the Asbury United Methodist Church, she was Founding Director of its Day Care Center and Founder of its Food Closet. She was also involved with many of its Educational and Social programs, serving with United Methodist Women and the Women's Society of Christian Service.

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Additional information:

Several Atlantic City residents, whether they knew it or not, owed their jobs to Margaret Caution. Her position with Governor Driscoll's Civil Rights Task Force often found her at odds with many city officials, fighting for issues which affected people statewide. The most major of these was her quest to ensure that more equal employment practices were followed. She encouraged the local Republican party to hire more black citizens in the police and fire departments, and even successfully appealed a state agency's overlooking of a highly-qualified job applicant from the Northside in favor of white applicants with fewer credentials and less experience.

Caution also pushed for the adoption of the New Jersey Public Accommodations Act of 1953, which would fine Boardwalk hotels if they were found in violation of the law stating that rooms could not be refused to black guests. It was said that Caution was so driven in her quest to get qualified black applicants into positions they deserved that the city's Public Safety Director, William Cuthbert, used to hide when he knew she was coming. Caution, however, often caught Cuthbert in his attempts to sneak away, and suceeded in getting him to hire black citizens.

 Margaret Caution. (101 Women Plus, Inc. 1995 calendar. Atlantic City Heritage Collections, Atlantic City Free Public Library)

For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:

Local History Biography Files - Margaret Caution
Johnson, Nelson: The Northside

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