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The acknowledged dean of North Carolina historians was once librarian of UNC Library's North Carolina Collection. Continue reading
A Chapel Hill “Rite of Spring” will be carried out in Charlotte this year. Head Football Coach Larry Fedora will take his Tar Heels to the Queen City for the 70th anniversary Blue-White football game because the renovations being carried out at Kenan Stadium will not be completed in time for the game on Saturday, April 11, 2015.
The annual spring game goes all the way back to 1946 when then Head Coach Carl Snavely put his post World War II squad on display in Kenan Stadium. Hugh Morton, as you might have suspected, photographed some of these early contests. Unlike his negatives for UNC basketball’s version of the Blue-White game, which are identified, Morton did not label his football negatives for the spring outing. I turned to newspapers looking for articles and images, then looked through hundreds of unlabeled negatives; Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looked over news reports from the Daily Tar Heel, Greensboro Daily News, Wilmington Morning Star, and Charlotte News. The result? Jack’s piece for today’s post on the beginnings of a Tar Heel tradition . . . and a few more identified negatives that we had beforehand.
Thirteen days after UNC Head Football Coach Carl Snavely got his Valentine wish that Charlie Justice would “come out for the team,” a practice game was held in Kenan Stadium between the Tar Heels and the Guilford College Quakers coached by Doc Newton. About a thousand students showed up despite the cold, damp, windy weather. The students were surprised when Snavely sent his team onto the field and Justice remained on the sideline. The modified format game gave Guilford the ball first and they did well. When the Tar Heels took over the ball, it was at their own 34-yard-line. On the sideline, Snavely snapped, “Justice, try tailback for a while.” As Justice ran onto the field, the crowd came to its feet. The Quaker defense dug in. Justice was on trial.
As everybody suspected, Justice got the snap. He started out to his right, then peeled off between the tackle and end, and was into the secondary. Two Quaker linebackers missed tackles, and now Justice was in position to size up the safety man. He ran directly at this last line of resistance, applied a head and shoulder fake and breezed past, then angled into the end zone. There was stunned silence in Kenan Stadium as the onlookers tried to figure out what they had just seen. Then a spontaneous cheer went up.
The United Press story in the Greensboro Daily News issue of February 28, 1946 said: “If his initial showing is any indication, Charlie Justice, the University of North Carolina’s new football star, can expect to cause opponents plenty of unrest.”
As the 1946 spring practice came to a close, Coach Snavely along with the University Monogram Club staged something new. They divided the 70-man football squad into two teams for a special game in Kenan Stadium. It was billed as the first annual Blue-White game and was played on May 4, 1946 before 2,000 top-coated fans. Charlie Justice, who had gotten a lot of ink in the papers by now, was assigned to the White team.
The Blue team got the ball first but after about two minutes, they punted. On the first play from scrimmage, with the ball at the White 35, Justice took off around right end. To quote Yogi Berra, “it was déjà vu all over again.” This time the play covered 65 yards. The White team went on to win that first Blue-White game 33 to 0. The ’46 Tar Heels finished the season 8-1-1 and it was “Happy Times are Here Again” in Chapel Hill.
Word of the successful 1946 Blue-White game spread quickly and when the 1947 game rolled around, 7,000 fans turned out on a warm April Saturday. The ’47 game had all appearances of a regular game as two squads of 41 players each met in Kenan on April 26, 1947. Unlike the ’46 game, this game was a tight, hard-fought contest with the White team winning in the end over the Justice-led Blue team 7 to 6. Place-kicker Bob Cox made the difference. It would be Charlie Justice’s only Blue-White loss. Although the 1947 Tar Heels lost 2 games—one to Texas and one to Wake Forest—and they chose not to accept a bowl invitation. Coach Snavely often said he thought his ’47 Carolina team was his best.
By April 29, 1948, Carolina had completed all of its spring practice and work was under way by the Monogram Club for the third annual Blue-White game to be staged in Kenan on May 1st. Once again, Coach Carl Snavely divided his troops into two teams: the White team to be coached by Jim Gill, and the Blue team to be led by Max Reed. This time 10,000 sun-baked fans came out to see what the ’48 Tar Heels had to offer. As it turned out, they had plenty to offer. The White team with Justice and Art Weiner at the controls scored three touchdowns in the first half and added two more in the second, making the final 35 to 7. The third annual Blue-White game introduced a new Carolina tradition. Head Cheerleader Norman Sper presented for the first time on the East Coast the 2,000-student Carolina Card section. They performed eight different stunts, to the delight of the crowd. The 1948 Tar Heels were undefeated: a tie with William & Mary was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect season. The stage was set for the final season of the “Charlie Justice Era,” but it would not be Charlie’s final Blue-White game.
Here’s a PDF of the above news clip: CharlotteNews_19480503_p6B. Only one negative from this trio has been located thus far:
The format for the fourth Blue-White game in 1949 was slightly different from years past. Upperclassmen like Justice and Weiner made up the Blue team, while freshman made up the White team. A Kenan Stadium crowd of 12,000 sat through a first-quarter rain and saw Justice run for one touchdown and pass for two as the “old guys” beat the “rookies,” 21 to 6.
Special guests for this game were 5,000 high school students from across the state.
Photographer Hugh Morton attended several Blue-White games over the years. His classic shot of Justice at the ’49 game (seen at the top of of this article) is a scene many had come to expect in their Sunday papers.
Here’s a PDF of the article and two photographs as they appeared in theMay 2nd edition of The Charlotte News: CharlotteNews_19490502_p4B
The 1949 Tar Heels lost three games during the season but still won the Southern Conference title and played in the 1950 Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day.
May 6, 1950, UNC’s Monogram Club staged its fifth Blue-White with yet another format change. This time it was the “Old Grads,” vs. the 1950 varsity. As you might guess, Charlie Justice and Art Weiner were co-captains for the “Grads.” 19,000 fans endured 90 degree temperatures and saw Justice steal the show once again, carrying the ball 12 times.
The “Choo Choo” had five punts for an average of 51 yards-per-kick. The star for the varsity was sophomore Tailback Ernie Liberati who just happened to be the subject of Hugh Morton’s photo in the Greensboro Daily News issue of May 7, 1950. Morton, in an impromptu interview with Daily News Sports Director Smith Barrier said, “Fish are beginning to bite around Wilmington.” With all the big guns gone, the 1950 Tar Heels struggled, posting a 3-5-2 record for the season.
On April 28, 1951, the UNC Monogram Club staged the sixth Blue-White game in perfect football weather before 11,500 fans in Kenan Stadium. The varsity (White) vs. freshmen (Blue) format was in place once again, and as before the varsity proved to be too much for the “rookies.” Coach George Radman’s White team won 32 to 21. Radman’s assistant coach was Charlie Justice, participating in his sixth Blue-White game. Justice was on Snavely’s staff during the 1951 season before returning to his duties with the Washington Redskins for his second Redskins season in 1952. The ’51 Tar Heels finished the season with a 2 and 8 record. Snavely would have only more season with the Tar Heels.
The Blue-White games just kept on coming and in the1962 game, the Monogram Club brought back the 1950 format with the Varsity (Blue) and Alumni (White). At age 37, Charlie Justice participated in his seventh and final Blue-White game. On April 7, 1962, Justice was used as the Alumni punter and got off punts of 35, 40, 39, 37, and 19 yards. The headline in the Greensboro paper on April 8, 1962 read, “Justice Booms Punts Again,” and the headline on page 219 in the 1963 UNC Yearbook, “ Yackety Yack,” read “Choo-Choo Returns for Alumni Game.”
So, when UNC Head Football Coach Larry Fedora’s 2015 Tar Heels take the field at Rocky River High School in Charlotte at 1 pm on April 11 for the 70th anniversary Blue-White spring game, I choose to believe that Justice, Weiner, Snavely and Morton will be together again, watching a Tar Heel Tradition in Blue and White.
UNC professor Stephen Davis will discuss the University in the 19th century, as discovered through two decades of archaeological exploration. Continue reading
This Wednesday, Wilson Library and the UNC Department of History are putting on the first of two events that are 100 years in the making.
It all started in 1915, when former UNC president Kemp Plummer Battle presented the North Carolina Historical Society with a sealed tin box. The box contained a Montgomery Ward catalog and was accompanied by a letter that outlined an unusual request. He asked that in 1965 and 2015, a member of the University community be appointed to write an essay on the changes in American life the catalogs showed.
In 1965, Chancellor Robert B. House was appointed to take on Battle’s challenge, writing an essay called “Great and Important Changes.” After comparing the 1915 and 1965 catalogs, House returned the 1915 catalog to Wilson Library and added the 1965 catalog for use in 2015.This year, the University is taking on the challenge with two lecture events. On April 8th, John Kasson, UNC professor of history and American studies, and Dana McMahan, UNC professor of journalism and mass communication, will address the topic “Mail Order Catalogs and Consumers.” In September, Peter Coclanis, UNC professor of history, and Dr. Lee Craig, professor in the Poole College of Management at NC State University, will speak on “Mail Order Catalogs and the American Economy.” Both events will be moderated by Fitz Brundage, chair and professor of history.
At both events, there will be a display of items related to the challenge, including Battle’s original instructions, the 1915 and 1965 catalogs, and Robert B. House’s 1965 essay. Light refreshments will be served.
Please join us at 5:30 this Wednesday in the Pleasants Room of Wilson Library for this exciting event!
In 1929, Henry Owl, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, became the first American Indian to graduate from the University of North Carolina.
Owl received a master’s degree in history with a thesis called “The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Before and After the Removal.” A year later, officials in Western North Carolina denied voting rights to Cherokees on the supposed basis of illiteracy. Owl pointed to his thesis as evidence to the contrary.
When officials pivoted and barred Cherokees from voting because they were not U.S. citizens, Owl testified before Congress. The federal government passed a law guaranteeing Cherokee suffrage — although Cherokees didn’t vote in North Carolina until after World War II.
Because of his achievements, Henry Owl’s name has been immortalized in the Virtual Museum of UNC History, the Sports Hall of Fame at Lenoir-Rhyne University (his undergraduate institution), and an endowed scholarship for UNC students.
It has not been immortalized in Wikipedia… at least, not yet.
On April 1, we hope to change that.
Next week, the North Carolina Collection will host its third Wikipedia edit-a-thon, with the theme American Indians in North Carolina. At the event, participants will create, update, and improve articles about people, places, events, and organizations associated with American Indian history in North Carolina.
Everyone is welcome, even if you’ve never edited Wikipedia before. Staff will be on hand to help with Wikipedia edits and find books and articles on topics that interest you. A list of suggested topics, and additional details, can be found on the event meet-up page.
Please bring a laptop if possible.
April 1, 5:00 to 8:45 p.m.
Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
On March 18th, 2012 Bill Richards, a colleague who worked in the library’s Digital Production Center passed away unexpectedly while watching the Tar Heel’s basketball team defeat Creighton University in the “Sweet Sixteen” round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. In 1982, Bill was the Chief Photographer for the Chapel Hill Newspaper. In 1988, he began working as a photographer and graphic designer in the UNC Office of Sports information. In 1998 he started working in Library Photographic Service, but continued shooting for Sports Information into the 2000s. I am dedicating this blog post, as I have each year since his departure, to Bill who, like Hugh Morton, was an avid UNC basketball fan.
As many also know, Dean Smith, UNC’s revered basketball coach, passed away in February. Hugh Morton’s last photographs made at an NCAA tournament were of Dean Smith’s final press conference after UNC’s 1997 tournament semifinal loss to Arizona in Indianpolis.
In advance of tonight’s Sweet Sixteen match-up between UNC and Wisconsin in Los Angeles, today’s blog post looks at Morton’s many trips to the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Here’s an interesting factoid from Obscurityville: photographer Hugh Morton was a UNC freshman when the NCAA held its very first men’s basketball tournament in March 1939. Clemson defeated Maryland in the 1939 Southern Conference Tournament; it was Wake Forest, however, with the conference’s best regular season record that the NCAA selected for its eight-team national championship tournament. Wake Forest lost its opening-round game to Ohio State, 64–52.
There was no representative from the Southern Conference in the NCAA tournament the following year. In 1941, UNC lost to Duke in the Southern Conference Tournament, but the NCAA nonetheless selected the “White Phantoms” (the UNC basketball team’s nickname) for its first trip to the national tournament—the only team selected from the twelve southeastern states. During the regular season UNC had posted a 14–1 conference record and were 19–9 overall. UNC’s NCAA tournament appearances that year were of two extremes. They lost 26–20 to Pittsburgh in their opening game played in Madison, Wisconsin. The Yackety Yack yearbook copywriter called it UNC’s “worst exhibition of the year.” The Yack writer then described UNC’s following night performance in the Regional Third Place game as “a sterling display of southern basketball in losing to Dartmouth, 60–59, in the last few seconds.” All-America George Glammack scored 31 points.
In 1942, Morton’s last year as a UNC student, Duke captured the Southern Conference crown. A series of three blog posts on A View to Hugh recounted Morton’s extensive coverage of that tournament. The NCAA did not select Duke, however, as one of the eight tournament teams. In 1943, in what would have been his senior year, Morton was instead a private in the United States Army.
Not until 1946 did a Southern Conference team return to the NCAA tournament. UNC took that honor all the way to the championship game in Madison Square Garden. With his photographic skills now honed by his military experience in the 161st Signal Corps, Hugh Morton photographed the championship matchup, which the Tar Heels lost to Oklahoma A & M 43–40.
Eleven more years transpired before the Tar Heels’ next appearance in the NCAA tournament in 1957. Coach Frank McGuire led UNC to an undefeated season and the national title in the basketball season that became known as “McGuire’s Miracle.” Morton did not attend UNC’s games during that tournament, but he did photograph the team’s return at the Raleigh-Durham Airport.
The frequency of Morton’s attendance at NCAA tournament games began to increase in the mid 1960s. Here’s a list I’ve compiled thus far (it’s “go to press” time!) of Morton’s trips to NCAA tournament games, with some links to the earlier images. Did I miss any? If so let me know and I’ll update the list.
- Duke’s defeat of Connecticut in the 1964 East Regional Final played in Raleigh’s Reynolds Auditorium.
- UNC’s victory over Davidson in the 1968 East Regional Final, also played at Reynold’s Coliseum.
- UNC’s 1969 “Final Four” loss to Purdue in the national semifinal played in Louisville, Kentucky.
- The 1974 national semifinals played in the Greensboro Coliseum, where North Carolina State upset of UCLA in the first round of the Final Four. Morton photographed the game from the stands, from where he also shot some of the Kansas versus Marquette contest. Morton did not photograph N. C. State’s win over Marquette for the national championship.
- 1975 first round at Charlotte Coliseum.
- 1977 finals at Atlanta.
- UNC’s 1981 championship loss to Indiana at Philadelphia.
- UNC’s 1982 championship victory over Georgetown at New Orleans.
- UNC’s 1983 defeat of Ohio State and its loss to Georgia in the East Regional Final played at Syracuse’s Carrier Dome.
- UNC’s 1987 loss to Syracuse at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.
- UNC’s 1990 upset over number one seed Oklahoma in the second round of the Midwest Regional.
- UNC’s 1993 national championship win over Michigan, 77–71, in New Orleans, and UNC’s games in Winston-Salem and East Rutherford, New Jersey. It seems Morton di not photograph its opening round game versus East Carolina also played in Winston-Salem.
- UNC’s trip to the 1995 Final Four in Seattle
- Morton’s final trip to the NCAA tournament was to see UNC play at Indianapolis in the 1997 Final Four.
Even relative newcomers to UNC remark about the seemingly endless construction on campus. The orientation of the University seems forever attuned to building and changing, moving toward the future.
Fortunately, there are people on campus paying careful attention to UNC’s past — foremost among them the Research Laboratories of Archaeology. The RLA is responsible for our March artifact of the month, a fragment of a red clay tobacco pipe associated with the presidential campaign of Millard Fillmore.
The pipe was excavated in the 1990s at the site of the Eagle Hotel, where Graham Memorial Hall now stands. The Eagle Hotel, built about 1796, was first a tavern house and later a hotel and boarding house. It was also one of the first commercial structures in Chapel Hill.
In the decades leading up to the Civil War, the Eagle Hotel served as a center of social life at the university. The University reacquired the property in 1907 and turned it into a dormitory, which was used until its destruction in a 1921 fire.
Glimpses of the 19th-century campus on display
The Millard Fillmore pipe, along with many other fascinating artifacts on loan from the Research Laboratories of Archaeology, can be seen in the North Carolina Collection Gallery’s exhibition The Hidden Campus: Archaeological Glimpses of UNC in the Nineteenth Century.
Steve Davis, Associate Director of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology, will deliver a lecture associated with the exhibition on April 14. More details about the exhibition and the lecture can be seen on the Gallery’s current exhibition page.
Coming March 19: A look at Carolina's past through archaeological exploration. Continue reading
Guest Poster: SHC Student Worker, James A. Moore (UNC Class of 2015)
From the eccentric monologues of the pit preacher, to the passionate Ferguson protest, to the somber vigil for Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha, recent times have demonstrated UNC’s reputation of being a place which fosters free speech. When thinking about all the recent demonstrations which UNC has welcomed, it can be easy to forget that less than 50 years ago, UNC had come under fire for passing a law which banned certain speakers from speaking on campus. This law was known as “The Speaker Ban Law”
Not too unlike today, in the 1960s UNC Chapel Hill had become a hotspot for political activism. Racial tensions and the war in Vietnam inspired many UNC students to hold demonstrations on UNC’s campus. Concerned that these protests may be seen as harbingers for communism, the more conservative members of UNC’s Board of Trustees passed The Speaker Ban Law, which prevented any speakers who were even suspected of having communist ties from being permitted to speak on UNC’s campus.
Naturally, a considerable amount of UNC’s students and faculty spoke out against the Speaker Ban Law. From the UNC chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, to UNC Chancellor William Aycock, a whole wave of dissident voices took to the press to speak out against the law in the name of free speech.
Although not as conspicuous as some other responses against the ban, a particularly eloquent response came from one of UNC Chapel Hill’s peers, UNC Greensboro. On March 6, 1966, Chancellor Otis A. Singletary of UNC Greensboro delivered a scathing critique of UNC Chapel Hill’s ban, with various passages that we here at the SHC believe everyone in the academic community would do well to remember:
The controversial Speaker Ban Law was eventually lifted on February 19, 1968 due to vagueness. This allowed students to protest more freely on UNC’s campus. The clipping below is just one example of how engaged students can be when given the oppurtunity to bring speakers and express ideas freely on campus.
To read more of Chancellor Singletary’s timely defense of free speech at College Universities check out the Anne Queen Collection (collection #5214), see other materials related to student activism, and learn more about the Speaker Ban Law, pay a visit to the SHC! For even more context and detailed information about free speech at UNC, you should check out the digital exhibit curated by the Southern Historical Collection, North Carolina Collection, and University Archives.
Today, February 19th, marks the 94th anniversary of Hugh Morton’s birth. Nine days from today, February 28th, would have been legendary Tar Heel basketball coach Dean Smith’s 84th birthday. As many if not most of you know, Smith passed away earlier this month on February 7th.
In between those two birthday observances will be a third celebration. On Sunday afternoon, February 22nd, there will be a very special gathering in the Dean Smith Student Activity Center on the UNC campus to celebrate the life of Dean E,. Smith. There will be players and former players . . . coaches and former coaches . . . students and former students. And I choose to believe there will be a very special section that will not be visible to those of us in the arena—and Smith, Bill Friday, and Hugh Morton will be seated there. All present will come together to honor the man who symbolizes what is known as “The Carolina Way.”
To mark all three occasions, Hugh Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look at the special connection that exists between Hugh Morton and Dean Smith.
Dean Smith, Coach, Teacher, Role Model
—chapter title in Making a Difference in North Carolina by Hugh M. Morton and Edward L. Rankin, Jr.
Soon after Dean Smith arrived on the UNC campus in 1958, he was introduced to Hugh Morton, a longtime friend of the university and its basketball program. Three years later, when Smith was appointed head coach by Chancellor William Aycock, Smith continued the free photographic access policy that the previous head coach, Frank McGuire, had offered Hugh Morton. Morton took advantage of that access. Over the years Morton came up from the North Carolina coast and down from the North Carolina mountains to Chapel Hill to photograph Smith and his championship program.
For the book Making a Difference in North Carolina, Hugh Morton contributed an eight-page chapter about his friend Dean Smith. The piece contains eleven pictures of Smith, including one that was to become a Morton favorite. [Editor’s note: for this occasion, we rescanned Morton’s favorite negative of Smith using our high-end Hasselblad film scanner. It’s much improved!]
In his 1996 book Sixty Years with a Camera, Morton described that famous Smith image:
My favorite picture of Dean Smith is this one (above) made right after UNC won the national championship in 1982 in New Orleans. Except for that net around James Worthy’s neck, you wouldn’t know that Carolina had won. Everybody was wrung out and fatigued.”
Then, seven years later in his 2003 book Hugh Morton’s North Carolina, Morton further described the picture adding, “Sports Information Director Rick Brewer is looking at his watch, fearful that the story will not make East Coast sports page deadlines, and Coach Smith and Jimmy Black are just plain tired. They were waiting to be interviewed by the media.”
At a slide show during UNC’s “Graduation/Reunion Weekend” in May of 1989, Morton explained how he got in position to take the famous picture.
There was mass confusion on the floor after the 1982 Championship game as the security folks tried to get Coach Smith and his team off the court. Coach Smith grabbed me by the arm and said ‘stick with me.’ He then turned to the security guard…pointed at me and said ‘he’s with us.
An earlier blog post recounts the closing moments of that game and includes a link to the broadcast (that’s now no longer functioning) where near the very end you can see Morton on the court near Smith.
Another Hugh Morton favorite slide show photograph can be found in Hugh’s 2003 book on page 200. The image shows Coach Smith with three other coaches that would eventually be UNC head coaches: Bill Guthridge, Matt Doherty and Roy Williams. This photograph is discussed the blog post “Back at the Top . . . Back in the Bayou.” On page 198 of the same book, is the opening photograph of this article, taken at the final game Dean Smith won as a Tar Heel—his final victory, number 879.
Of the many books published about Dean Smith and his basketball program, I think it’s safe to say that Hugh Morton played a part in the finished product of most of them. An excellent example would be Barry Jacobs’s 1998 book, The World According to Dean: Four Decades of Basketball as seen by Dean Smith. The book contains 23 Morton photos and the front cover image. (Judging from Smith’s tie on the cover photograph, it also looks to be from his final victory game.)
On June 2, 2006, the evening following Hugh Morton’s death, WBTV, Channel 3, in Charlotte presented a special Morton tribute. Veteran BTV broadcaster Paul Cameron anchored the program. During the show several of Morton’s friends were interviewed including Dean Smith, live by telephone from his home in Chapel Hill. Coach spoke of Morton’s loyalty to his University and the basketball program and said, no matter what the weather, Morton always seemed to be courtside and ready for game day. In addition, Coach Smith paid tribute to Morton’s family, his wife Julia in particular, and said he called often during Morton’s illness and spoke with him when he was able.
Since Coach Smith’s death on February 7th, there have been dozens and dozens of beautiful tributes written in newspapers and delivered on TV . . . many of which were supported by Morton images. I choose to believe that there will be additional Morton images of Dean Smith taken Sunday afternoon.
You may use the search box at the top of the blog to search for additional A View to Hugh blog posts that include Dean Smith.