The New York Age reported “wholesale protests” in response to news of Rector’s guardianship and asserted that there were similar cases in Oklahoma oil country, numbering “native Negro children” with allotments in the hundreds, “whose wealth reaches far into the thousands, and in every case they, like Sarah Rector, have white guardians.” The paper questioned why a black guardian could not be appointed who would be fully invested in the girl’s welfare and claimed, “When ‘a native child’ allotment is of little or no value the parents or some other Negro may be appointed as guardian, but if there is any wealth involved a white guardian is invariably appointed. Regardless of wealth, ability and high standing, the Probate Judge never deems a Negro sufficiently competent to act as a guardian for a wealthy Negro child.” The courts, according to the presses, were also biased and involved in grafting schemes.
Other African American presses echoed such sentiments, expanding the issue from that of individual black children’s fortunes to a more widespread one of racial solidarity. The New York Age, for instance, wrote, “The money of these colored children is deposited in white banks and used by whites. Not a penny, however, can be used by a Negro. Thus, millions of dollars and valuable land are gradually passing from the hands of Negroes to white people.” Another press called white guardianship “abominable and outrageous,” and wrote, “If the colored people were allowed to control these millions of dollars of wealth, which is owned by their own race, we could build banks, railroads, factories, warehouses and establish a suitable commercial standing as a race.” The concern, of course, stemmed from white guardians charging exorbitant sums of money for their services or sometimes arranging deals profitable for themselves and their white acquaintances, while effectively bleeding their charges’ funds dry. Sarah Rector’s alleged abuse made her a figurehead for this race problem.