Black love in the past, as told by newspaper personal ads : Code Switch To celebrate the history of Black romance, Gene and Parker are joined by reporter Nichole Hill to explore the 1937 equivalent of dating apps — the personals section of one of D.C.'s Black newspapers. Parker attempts to match with a Depression-era bachelor, and along the way we learn about what love meant two generations removed from slavery.

The Lonesome Hearts of 1937

The Lonesome Hearts of 1937

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In 1937, the Washington Afro-American featured the "Lonesome Hearts" column, where Black folks looking for love could send letters. Jackie Lay hide caption

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Jackie Lay

In 1937, the Washington Afro-American featured the "Lonesome Hearts" column, where Black folks looking for love could send letters.

Jackie Lay

Dating is hard. We know this. Dating while Black? That can feel nigh impossible sometimes, given how the long tentacles of racism have wrapped themselves around every aspect of our lives (and hearts.) It doesn't help that we live in the age of apps and booty calls and situationships, when chivalry has long-since been dead. But was dating any easier in the past? On this special Valentine's day episode of Code Switch, we're putting that question to the test. Audio storyteller Nichole Hill takes us back in time to 1937, using archival personal ads from the Washington Afro-American to show us what it was like for Black folks to date almost a century ago. Turns out, the ancestors were messy, too.

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