A personal look back in time on a very special day

Portrait of Hugh Morton by Wootten-Moulton Studio, circa 1941-42, in the Bayard Morgan Wootten Photographic Collection (negative WM-O-1517-1, cropped by the editor).

Portrait of Hugh Morton by Wootten-Moulton Studio, circa 1941-42, in the Bayard Morgan Wootten Photographic Collection (negative WM-O-1517-1, cropped by the editor).

On this day, February 19, 2017, Hugh Morton would have turned 96 years old. And also on this day, Hugh Morton collection volunteer and contributor Jack Hilliard is celebrating a personal “View to Hugh” milestone.

. . . you could not contain him [Hugh Morton]. . . There was never any negativism.  He was creative, forward thinking. . . As a promoter, he was North Carolina’s best.  His first love outside Grandfather Mountain was this place [UNC].  He loved this place with a passion.

Dr. William Friday, Windows (Fall 2007)

On February 19, 1921, 96 years ago today, Hugh MacRae Morton was born in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Morton’s first published photograph appeared in Time when he was fourteen, and over the next seventy-plus years, he took well over two hundred thousand pictures of life in “his” North Carolina and beyond.

During World War II Morton was attached to the 37th Infantry Division where he was a newsreel cameraman and photographed the South Pacific Theater, including an occasion to photograph General Douglas MacArthur at Binalonan and San Manuel on Luzon Island in the Philippines. While on the island of Luzon, Morton was injured by a Japanese explosive. He was later awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

Upon his return from the war, Morton picked up where he left off, taking pictures across his native state. His work has been featured in hundreds of publications including Life, National Geographic, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, and Collier’s. Two magnificent books of his photographs have been published, so far…one in 2003 titled Hugh Morton’s North Carolina and a second one titled Hugh Morton: North Carolina Photographer, published soon after his death on June 1, 2006.

It was at his memorial service at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro on June 9, 2006 that I learned from Dr. William Friday that Morton’s photographic archive was going to be donated to the University of North Carolina and was to become a part of the North Carolina Collection at Wilson Library on the UNC campus. My first thought was that the Library would most likely just store the boxes of photographs, negatives, and slides in a safe place. And that was a comforting feeling, knowing that the images would indeed be safe.

Then, in early fall of 2007, I received my copy of Windows, a UNC library publication published by the Friends of the Library.  The lead, front-cover-story was about the Hugh Morton photography archive coming to the North Carolina Collection. The magazine called the estimated 530,000-item-collection a stunner and North Carolina Collection Curator Bob Anthony said it was the largest collection ever given to the library (to date).

The amazing article also indicated that the photographs would be cataloged, identified, and filed for easy use. North Carolina Collection archivist Stephen Fletcher along with his assistant Elizabeth Hull would lead a team of students and volunteers in doing the work. A sidebar article called “Processing the Morton Collection (Wrestling the Bear)” told of the challenges the team faced, since many of the photographs did not contain identifying captions. (Elizabeth wrote a blog post on the subject on November 7, 2007 titled “A Processor’s Perspective.”)

As I read through the article, I thought, “What a great job, going to work each day and your duties included looking at Hugh Morton photographs.”  So I wrote Stephen and Elizabeth an email on December 12, 2007 and offered to help identify some of the football pictures since I have been a UNC fan since the age of 6.  I received a reply that said the team had not gotten to the identifying point yet, but I might be able to help later.  The article also mentioned the “processing blog” that offered readers an opportunity to comment. I immediately logged in and read each entry and comment starting with Fletcher’s first entry on November 1, 2007.  Then on January 21, 2008 I added my first comment. I have continued to add comments when I thought I could offer something of interest.

When the 2008 football season started, I suggested a blog topic.  Since Carolina was playing Notre Dame in Chapel Hill on October 11th, why not look back to the first meeting between the two teams in November of 1949.  Morton’s pictures from that day are classic. Stephen accepted the idea and wrote two really good posts about the game: “The Tar Heels against the Fighting Irish in the Big Apple” and “Justice’s Prayer.”

When the processing team got to the point where they could begin identifying UNC football photographs, I received an email on October 8, 2008, asking if I would like to become a volunteer.  Of course my answer was yes and I began to make weekly Friday visits to the collection starting on October 31, 2008.  Each Friday there would be a group of negatives for me to try to identify. There was something exciting about holding the very negative that had been used to print a newspaper picture that, as a little kid, I had clipped out of the paper and pasted in a scrapbook. I continued those Friday visits until August 17, 2010, and I still make periodic visits to the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

As the football season progressed, it looked like the 2008 Tar Heel team would be going to a bowl game, so I made a second suggestion: Why not do a piece on Carolina’s first bowl game played in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 1947?  Elizabeth liked the idea and added, “Why don’t you write it?” I was surprised, but agreed to do it, but only if Stephen and Elizabeth would carefully review and edit it.  So on December 22, 2008 my first piece for “V2H” was posted . . . surprisingly enough with very little editing.  At the time I made the suggestion, I thought that Morton photographed that game, but it turned out that weather conditions prevented him from getting there.  Four years later, a post on December 28, 2012 revealed the “Morton mystery” surrounding the ’47 Sugar Bowl.

In early 2009, Elizabeth suggested that I do a piece on Morton’s run for governor. I did that piece, which was posted on March 24, 2009.  By now I was really hooked and I started to look for ideas to write about—and surprisingly I found some. So, on this special day, the day Hugh Morton would have turned 96, this post is the 100th for me.  With special thanks to Bob Anthony, Stephen Fletcher, and Elizabeth Hull . . . it has been a fun ride. I hope it can continue. It is indeed a genuine privilege and honor to help celebrate Hugh Morton’s magnificent photographic work.

Red tide fear: trouble at sea

Twenty-nine years ago the North Carolina coastal fishing and tourist industries faced a very real problem.  As most often is the case, the Hugh Morton family stepped in to offer help. Morton collection volunteer and blog contributor Jack Hilliard looks back to January, 1988 and a unique gathering of loyal North Carolinians.

First, a little history . . .

In August 1987 off the coast of Naples, Florida, microscopic algae began to reproduce at a rapid rate, thriving and expanding in a matter of days into a large toxic bloom that dominated the Florida coastal environment.  Two months later that same organism, Ptychodiscus brevis, had spread to the North Carolina coast—closing 170 miles of coastal fishing waters and affecting 9,000 commercial fishermen.  North Carolina had never had a toxic algae bloom.  In fact a toxic bloom had never been seen north of Jacksonville, Florida, about 800 miles to the south.

At the time, some scientists described the situation as a spreading global epidemic of toxic and nontoxic algae blooms called “red tides.”  North Carolina’s bloom is believed to have traveled north in the Gulf Stream, bypassing other Southern states. Some of those scientists believed the causes of the red tide epidemic likely included climatic changes, natural growth cycles, and man-made pollution among others.  Other scientists remained unconvinced.  “I wouldn’t want to come down and say pollution is causing red tide expansions,” said Daniel Kamykowski, a professor of oceanography at the University of North Carolina. “I don’t think pollution is that well defined in terms of the cause of red tides.”

At this point it should be pointed out that commercial seafood found in restaurants and grocery stores is safe because it comes from red tide-free-water and is monitored by the U.S. government for safe use.  That being said, in early 1988, North Carolinians were skeptical: they were not eating fish, and that was hurting the coastal fishing and tourist business in at least 600 restaurants, hotels, and seafood markets.  At the time, Hugh Morton, Jr. was the Director of the North Carolina Division of Travel and Tourism, having been in that position since March of 1987.

When there was a North Carolina concern that needed attention, Hugh Morton, Jr., like his father, was always ready to help.  So in early January, 1988, along with the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters, Morton and Governor Jim Martin launched a campaign to aid the fishing and tourism industries that were facing the red tide scare.

Governor Jim Martin addressing a crowd of food workers and celebrities including Charlie Justice, Phil Ford, Clyde King, and William Friday. Taken at a North Carolina tourism event coordinated by Hugh Morton, Jr. to address the effects of "red tide" algae.

Governor Jim Martin addressing a crowd of food workers and celebrities including Charlie Justice, Phil Ford, Clyde King, and William Friday. Taken at a North Carolina tourism event coordinated by Hugh Morton, Jr. to address the effects of “red tide” algae.

On January 6, 1988, Governor Martin and Hugh, Jr. staged a seafood feast at the Governor’s mansion in Raleigh. The invited guest list read like a who’s who in the Tar Heel state: Jesse Haddock, Bill Friday, Kay Yow, George Hamilton IV, Captain Frank Conlon, Kyle and Richard Petty, Clyde King, Loonis McGlohon, Charlie Justice, Shirley Caesar, Bones McKinney, Tommy Amaker, Tommy Burleson, Miss North Carolina Seafood Evonne Carawan of Morehead City, Bob Timberlake, Bobby Jones, and Phil Ford, plus a variety of costumed characters from a variety of state travel attractions, like Daniel Boone (portrayed by Glenn Causey.)  In all, more than thirty loyal North Carolinians participated.

They all ate North Carolina seafood, and Hugh, Jr. put to work his advertising agency skills and produced a number of TV public service announcements using this impressive group of North Carolina legends. Hugh Morton, Sr., as would be expected, was there with camera in hand.  In his 2003 book, Hugh Morton’s North Carolina, he called the group “one of the most impressive groups of celebrities ever gathered in the state.”  Some of the celebrities shared their own seafood recipes, like “Richard Petty’s Favorite Crabmeat Casserole,” and “George Hamilton IV’s Favorite Scallops and Shrimp.”  Both of these favorite recipes appeared in the March, 1988 issue of The State (now Our State).

Governor Jim Martin confers with Richard Petty, as Charlie Justice looks on. Duke basketball star Tommy Amaker may be the person on the far left. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

Governor Jim Martin confers with Richard Petty, as Charlie Justice looks on. Duke basketball star Tommy Amaker may be the person on the far left. (Photograph cropped by the editor.)

According to the Saturday, January 9 Wilmington Morning Star, the campaign was to begin on Monday.  I recall vividly the day the reel of two-inch videotape announcements arrived at the WFMY-TV studio in Greensboro.  One of my duties at the time was to pre-screen all incoming video material.  The spots were magnificent.  We were pleased to air them in the Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem television market.  A letter enclosed with the videotape from Wade Hargrove, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters explained the purpose for the TV project:

These announcements come at a time when the seafood industry (which is very important to the state’s economic health) has been hit hard by the “red tide” along the coast. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone, there seems to be a widespread misconception that the red tide has had an adverse effect on the state’s fish and shrimp industry—which is not the case. . . These PSAs are designed to clear up that misconception in a positive, upbeat way.

I also recall that catchy phrase that ended each spot: “North Carolina . . . first in freedom . . . first in flight . . . and first in fish.”

Artist Bob Timberlake (left) and basketball player and coaching legend Horace "Bones" McKinney (right) pose with plentiful edible seafood. The woman is unidentified, perhaps a member of an N.C. outdoor drama. With Glenn Causey, as Daniel Boone, in attendance, she might be from the cast of "Horn in the West." Other possible identifications for this photograph: Kay Yow just over Timberlake's shoulder, and Shirley Caesar second from the right background. Miss N.C. Seafood is in the background (far right).

Artist Bob Timberlake (left) and basketball player and coaching legend Horace “Bones” McKinney (right) pose with plentiful edible seafood. The woman is unidentified, perhaps a member of an N.C. outdoor drama. With Glenn Causey, as Daniel Boone, in attendance, she might be from the cast of “Horn in the West.” Other possible identifications for this photograph: Kay Yow just over Timberlake’s shoulder, and Shirley Caesar second from the right background. Miss N.C. Seafood is in the background (far right).

In the weeks and months that followed, seafood consumption began the long road to recovery.  Jesse Jackson visited Wilmington for four hours on January 27 during his presidential campaign, “focusing on the economic plight of shell fishermen,” according to Janet Olsen, staff writer for the Wilmington Morning Star.  On February 2 Governor Martin launched “Operation Red Tide,” a $120,000 relief fund for those fishermen who suffered losses during the epidemic. She reported that the red tide “put almost 11,000 commercial fishermen out of work in North Carolina.”  On February 12 Bryson Jenkins, Public Information Spokeswoman with the North Carolina Division of Environmental Management, announced that algae counts were at 5,000 cells per liter, down from “hundreds of thousands.”

Ida Howell Friday

Detail of Ida Friday, from a group portrait by Hugh Morton, with her husband William Friday and their daughter Betsy after Ida received the University Medal from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 4 December 1985. (Photograph cropped by the author. To see the alternate portrait visit http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/ref/collection/morton_highlights/id/972.)

Detail of Ida Friday, from a group portrait by Hugh Morton, with her husband William Friday and their daughter Betsy after Ida received the University Medal from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 4 December 1985. (Photograph cropped by the author. Click on the photograph above to see the alternate portrait without cropping.)

There is news today that Ida Howell Friday, widow of former UNC President William “Bill” Friday, passed away on Monday.  She was 97.  Bill Friday encouraged Hugh Morton to donate his photographic archive to the North Carolina Collection.  There are a handful of images of Ida Friday in the online Hugh Morton collection, one of which can be seen below.  An online obituary can be read at the News and Observer website.

(L to R, Front Row): NC Governor Jim Hunt, NC Lt. Gov. Jimmy Green, and unidentified. Behind them are UNC President William Friday, and Friday's wife Ida. NCAA Championship, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, 29 March 1982. (Cropped by the author.)

(L to R, Front Row): NC Governor Jim Hunt, NC Lt. Gov. Jimmy Green, and unidentified. Behind them are UNC President William Friday, and Friday’s wife Ida. NCAA Championship, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, 29 March 1982. (Cropped by the author.)

 

The beauty of snow through the eyes of Hugh MacRae Morton

Sunlight in snowy woods as seen and photographed by High Morton.

Sunlight in snowy woods as seen and photographed by High Morton.

With newspapers using gallons of ink showing headlines like “Winter Strom Wreaks Havoc Across South” . . . news and weather channels putting their casts and crews in harm’s way, going flat-out 24/7, showing, slick roads, spinning cars, and snowball fights . . . schools (including UNC’s Wilson Library today and this past weekend), churches, businesses, and daycares closed and the UNC NC State basketball game postponed . . . the cast and crew at A View to Hugh would like to show you the beautiful side of snow through the eyes and camera lens of Hugh Morton.

It’s safe to say Hugh never let a good snowfall go “unphotographed.”  Below are just a few links to some of the many snowfall photographs made by Morton.  Explore and enjoy the online collection of Morton photographs for other winter views and please leave a comment to let us know which photographs are you favorites!

Whitetail deer in snow

Mount Mitchell in the snow

Mountain snow

Road in snow and ice

Snow on Grandfather Mountain

Mile High Swinging Bridge in snow and ice

A sweet spot in time

Souvenir seller outside the Gator Bowl in 1963. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped from a 35mm color slide by the editor.

Souvenir seller outside the Gator Bowl in 1963. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped from a 35mm color slide by the editor.

UNC Head Football Coach Larry Fedora will be taking his 2016 Tar Heels to the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas on Friday, December 30, 2016. The game will be featured on CBS at 2:00 p.m.  This will mark Carolina’s thirty-third bowl appearance going back to the 1947 Sugar Bowl. Of the thirty-two previous games, the Tar Heels have won fourteen going back to the 1963 Gator Bowl, a game Tar Heels like to recall.  Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard takes a look back at the 1963 season and Carolina’s first bowl win played on this date fifty-three years ago.

We had everything going. What a great feeling to have been struggling since 1949 (sic) and then have this (Gator Bowl) chance. It was just a sweet spot in time.”

1963 UNC All-America Halfback Ken Willard, 1963 Gator Bowl Anniversary Celebration, October 20, 1984

 In the late summer of 1963 when UNC Head Football Coach Jim Hickey announced that twenty-nine lettermen would be returning from the 1962 squad, some Tar Heel fans rolled their eyes, remembering that the ’62 team won only three games while losing seven. But Hickey quickly added, “It’s a veteran squad with many talented players. Our schedule is rugged, as always, but I feel certain we can give an excellent account of ourselves each Saturday.”

Turns out, Hickey was right. The ’63 Tar Heel team won eight games and was Co-ACC Champion, along with NC State.

The season started out with a come-from-behind-win against Virginia in Kenan Memorial Stadium on September 21, followed by a disappointing blow-out loss at Michigan State one week later.  Then came a five-game win streak with victories over Wake Forest, Maryland, NC State, South Carolina, and Georgia. Then, a second bump in the road versus Clemson in Death Valley followed by a final ’63 win in newly renovated Kenan over Miami.

So a showdown at Duke for an ACC title tie and a bowl invitation was originally scheduled for November 23, 1963; the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Friday, November 22, however, brought the season to a halt.  At first the forty-ninth meeting between Carolina and Duke was re-scheduled for Saturday, November 30.  Then, on Sunday, November 24, it was moved to Thanksgiving Day, November 28.  It would be only the third time the two teams had met on Thanksgiving and photographer Hugh Morton was covering his second Thanksgiving Day Duke-Carolina game.

The roads leading into Duke Stadium (now Wallace Wade Stadium) were crowded at 1:50 p.m. as traffic was backed up on highways N.C. 751 and Interstate 85.  The game was to begin at 2:00 p.m.  At 1:57, fans and players, both Duke and Carolina, faced the half-staffed flag and stood for a minute of silence to pay homage to President Kennedy.  This game was not like the Duke-Carolina battles of years past.  A subdued crowd of 47,500 remained standing as both bands, not in uniform because this was a class holiday, played the National Anthem.

At 2:02 p.m. the game began under cloudy skies.  After a scoreless first quarter, UNC’s great halfback Ken Willard saw his way through the left side of the line, got great blocks from John Hammett and Eddie Kesler, and dragged Duke’s Danny Litaker the final three yards into the end zone.  The play covered 14 yards. It was 2:55 p.m., the sun had come out, and Carolina led 7-0. There was no more scoring in the first half and there was no formal halftime show, but a Tar Heel fan swiped the Duke Blue Devil’s pitch fork and ran across the field, the Blue Devil in pursuit. One of the Duke cheerleaders made a head-on tackle, but the spear was tossed to a Tar Heel cheerleader who pitched it into the stands. Duke security police stood by and laughed.

Early in the third quarter, UNC completed a twelve-play-scoring-drive covering 77 yards, to take a 13-0 lead. Halfback Eddie Kesler scored from one yard out, but Tar Heel kicker Max Chapman missed the extra point. Duke came back on the following series with a 70-yard pass play from quarterback Scotty Glacken to halfback James Futrell.  With 4:15 remaining in the third quarter, the score was UNC 13, Duke 7, and the quarter ended with no additional scoring.

With just over five minutes remaining in the game, Duke’s Jay Wilkinson made one of the great plays of the game. With Duke at the Carolina 24-yard-line, he hit left tackle, cut back, faked UNC’s Eddie Kesler, and ran the distance for the score. Steve Holloway’s extra point gave Duke the lead 14-13. It was 4:12 p.m. and getting dark as that second quarter sun was nowhere to be seen.

With 4:58 on the game clock, Carolina got the ball back—but not for long.  Quarterback Junior Edge’s pass was intercepted by Duke’s Stan Crisson who returned to the Tar Heel 34-yard line. There were those in light blue who said, “We just gave Duke another victory.”  Duke, however, was unable to get a first down and Carolina got the ball on its own 28-yard line with 1:28 left to play.  Quarterback Junior Edge and left end Bob Lacey moved the ball steadily down the field.  When they reached the Duke 21-yard line, there was but thirty-eight seconds left in the game and it was fourth down and fifteen yards to go. Coach Hickey sent in kicker Max Chapman and holder Sandy Kinney. Chapman’s field goal was perfect and Carolina led 16-14.

Duke head coach Bill Murray receives an explanation from a referee—probably after Max Chapman's filed goal as the frame below is the next image on the roll of film. According to the High Point Enterprise sports write Bob Hoffman, "In a matter of seconds after UNC's Max Chapman booted a 42-yard filed goal . . . Murray had charged onto the field and was chin-to-chin with one of the officials." Murray said the clock didn't stop after the field goal. The official contended that only six seconds clicked off the clock. Murray disagreed because, as he explained after the game, "I had gotten together a group of players to go back into the game, talked to the quarterback, run out onto the field and got the official's attention to stop the clock. I just can't move that fast." (Scan of Hugh Morton's negative is shown full frame.)

Duke head coach Bill Murray receives an explanation from a referee—probably after Max Chapman’s filed goal as the frame below is the next image on the roll of film. According to the High Point Enterprise sports write Bob Hoffman, “In a matter of seconds after UNC’s Max Chapman booted a 42-yard filed goal . . . Murray had charged onto the field and was chin-to-chin with one of the officials.” Murray said the clock didn’t stop after the field goal. The official contended that only six seconds clicked off the clock. Murray disagreed because, as he explained after the game, “I had gotten together a group of players to go back into the game, talked to the quarterback, run out onto the field and got the official’s attention to stop the clock. I just can’t move that fast.” (Scan of Hugh Morton’s negative is shown full frame.)

A long discussion among the officials and the time keeper followed, after which they reset the clock to 0:33.  Duke mounted a rally, but time ran out. It was 4:40 p.m and the game was over.  Two minutes later, UNC Athletic Director Chuck Erickson and Gator Bowl Selection Chairman Joseph G. Sykora stepped into the press box.  Said Erickson: “We’ve been invited to the Gator Bowl and we’ve accepted.”  The two men shook hands, and Sykora added, “I think I’ve seen a bowl game today.”

With the game in hand, UNC fans took the goal post into their own hands. Scan of Hugh Morton's negative, shown full frame, follows the frame shown above.  There are no identified game-action negatives in the Morton collection.

With the game in hand, UNC fans took the goal post into their own hands. Scan of Hugh Morton’s negative, shown full frame, follows the frame shown above. There are no identified game-action negatives in the Morton collection.

Twelve seasons had come and gone since UNC’s legendary All-America Charlie Justice led the 1949 Tar Heels into the 1950 Cotton Bowl. But Carolina was headed to its fourth bowl game, the nineteenth annual Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida to meet the Air Force Academy.

Carolina went to St. Augustine, Florida and set up training headquarters in preparation for the December 28 game.  On Thursday evening, the 26th, the Tar Heels had a very special guest drop by their Ponce De Leon Hotel: ninety-one-year-old William Rand Kenan, Jr. dropped by to wish the team well.  (By the way, Mr. Kenan owned the hotel where the Tar Heels were staying.)  Back in Jacksonville, the Carolina crowd began to arrive at alumni headquarters in the Hotel Robert Meyer where UNC Chancellor William Aycock held a special reception on Friday, the 27th.

On Saturday morning, 5,000 Tar Heel faithful got up early for a pep rally and brunch at the Jacksonville Coliseum.  Also in attendance were UNC Head Basketball Coach Dean Smith, North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford, and former North Carolina governor and current United States Secretary of Commerce Luther Hodges.

Luther Hodges waves two UNC banners during the 1963 Gator Bowl.

Luther Hodges waves two UNC banners during the 1963 Gator Bowl.

At 2:00 p.m. it was game time and CBS Sports was in place to send the game out nationally. Also in place was a sellout crowd of 50,018—10,000 of them Tar Heels— in the 70-degree weather with overcast skies. Hugh Morton was set to document his third Tar Heel bowl game.

With the scoreboard reading 26-0 in the third quarter, a UNC male cheerleader, donning a now-classic sweater, swings his partner 'round and 'round during a moment on the playing field worth swirling about. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped from a 35mm slide by the editor.

With the scoreboard reading 26-0 in the third quarter, a UNC male cheerleader, donning a now-classic sweater, swings his partner ’round and ’round during a moment on the playing field worth swirling about. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped from a 35mm slide by the editor.

Carolina’s 77-yard TD drive in the first quarter started things off and the boys from Chapel Hill never looked back. They led by 20-0 at halftime and picked up additional scores in the third and fourth quarters. The final score was a Gator Bowl record 35-0. UNC Halfback Ken Willard was the hero of the day with 94 yards in eighteen carries and one score—good enough to gain him MVP honors at the awards banquet at the George Washington Hotel in downtown Jacksonville.

UNC quarterback "Junior" Edge (Bias Melton Edge Jr.), scampers toward the Air Force Academy's 20-yard line. Based upon the play-by-play account in The Alumni Review and the scoreboard seen in a 35mm slides two frames later, this is probably Edge's 10-yard run for a first down in during the first quarter. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.

UNC quarterback “Junior” Edge (Bias Melton Edge Jr.), scampers toward the Air Force Academy’s 20-yard line. Based upon the play-by-play account in The Alumni Review and the scoreboard seen in a 35mm slides two frames later, this is probably Edge’s 10-yard run for a first down in during the first quarter. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor. At the time of this writing, it’s Morton’s only surviving action photograph from the game.

Following the game, Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Norm Van Brocklin and General Manager Bert Ross were on hand to sign Tar Heel end Bob Lacey to a pro contract. Also on hand was 1964 Miss America Donna Axum who had just returned from Greensboro and their Holiday Jubilee Parade.  “That was some weather we had for that Christmas Parade,” she said, adding, “But it’s better than we’ve had at home [Arkansas] the past week—eleven inches of snow.”  The following morning Axum would be rescued from a tragic fire at the Hotel Roosevelt in Jacksonville.

This unidentified woman appears to be 1964 Miss America Donna Axum, probably during pregame festivities. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.

This unidentified woman appears to be 1964 Miss America Donna Axum, probably during pregame festivities. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the editor.

The headline in the New York Times on Sunday, December 29 read: “North Carolina Trounces Air Force in Gator Bowl, 35-0.”  The late Hall of Fame sportswriter Dick Herbert, writing in the Sunday, December 29 issue of Raleigh’s News and Observer, opened his report with this: “A superbly prepared North Carolina football team dropped the biggest bomb in the 19-year history of the Gator Bowl here Saturday as it destroyed the Air Force Academy team, 35 to 0.”

On December 28, 1963, for one brief shining moment, the football glory at UNC that had been missing since the “Charlie Justice Era” during the late 1940s had returned and Carolina football was once again in the big time.  The 1963 Tar Heels would be Coach Jim Hickey’s best team and likely his favorite. Jim Hickey passed away on December 27, 1997 at age 77.  On October 4, 2003 when Carolina played Virginia on letterman’s day in Kenan Stadium, the 1963 Gator Bowl Champs were honored on the 40th anniversary of their great win.

The 1971 environmental conference at Greensboro Coliseum

John H. Glenn Jr., Greensboro Coliseum, 12 October 1971. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.)

John H. Glenn Jr., Greensboro Coliseum, 12 October 1971. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.

If we do not start treating our environment with more respect—giving it time to replenish itself—we are in for trouble in the future. —John H. Glenn Jr., October 12, 1971 at Douglas Municipal Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina

With John Glenn’s passing on December 8, I recalled the group portrait made by Hugh Morton at a campaign debt retirement party for Terry Sanford attended by Glenn and others.  To see what, if any, other photographs Morton may have made of Glenn, I turned to the collection finding aid and found the following listing for fourteen 35mm black-and-white negatives: “Environmental Concerns #44: ‘Environmental Conference, Greensboro Coliseum: John Glenn, Stewart Udall, etc.,’ 1970s-1980s?”

Ah that tantalizing question mark . . . another Morton Mystery!

For those who don’t know, many newspapers on microfilm held by the North Carolina Collection have been digitized by newspapers.com.  They can be viewed for free if you are on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, otherwise you need to have a paid subscription.  Searching the website quickly revealed that the conference occurred on October 12, 1971.  On that day, the North Carolina Jaycees and possibly the North Carolina Conservation Council (only one source mentioned that organization) sponsored rallies in four airports across the state, capped off with an environmental conference that evening at eight o’clock in the Greensboro Coliseum.  More time consuming, however, was piecing together various (sometimes conflicting) news reports to form a coherent picture of the day’s events.  I don’t believe what follows, however, is the whole story so I encourage you to leave comments to help complete it.  I sense that this post could lead to more on the topic of the environmental movement in North Carolina . . . and maybe even turn up more Morton Mysteries.

*****

Here are four points that provide some context for the story:

Conservationism into Environmentalism

The environmental conference and rallies occurred during the formative years of environmentalism in North Carolina, an era that began in 1967 according to Milton S. Heath Jr. and Alex L. Hess III in their essay “The Evolution of Modern North Carolina Environmental and Conservation Policy Legislation.”  Preceding the “Environmental Era” was the “Conservation Era” that began at the turn of the twentieth century.  Heath and Hess characterized the difference between these two periods in terms of state laws:

In North Carolina, the statutes that implemented . . . resource management programs at the state level contained policy statements that encouraged management and use of resources in contrast with the preambles of environmental-era statutes that stressed protection and preservation.

Hugh Morton’s life straddles that transition.  His career includes a decade of service as a member of the North Carolina Board of Conservation and Development under governors W. Kerr Scott, William B. Umstead, and Luther H. Hodges from 1951 to 1961.  It is during those years, too, that Morton begins to conserve and develop Grandfather Mountain.

Earth Day

The very first Earth Day was April 22, 1970.  Before the end of the year, on December 2, the United States Government established the Environmental Protection Agency.  The new agency was a consolidation of several entities within the federal government.  This accomplishment stemmed from the recommendation of President Richard M. Nixon as part of his “Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970,” which he proposed to the Senate and the House of Representatives on July 9th.  In that document Nixon noted, “Our national government today is not structured to make a coordinated attack on the pollutants which debase the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that grows our food.  Indeed, the present governmental structure for dealing with environmental pollution often defies effective and concerted action.”

North Carolina Legislation

Nearly one year after the first Earth Day, on April 8, 1971, North Carolina Governor Robert Scott sent the General Assembly an environmental message accompanied by several related bills.  The year saw the enactment of the North Carolina Environmental Policy Act of 1971, also known by the acronym “SEPA” (State Environmental Policy Act), and the state’s Environmental Bill of Rights, introduced by State Senator Hargrove “Skipper” Bowles.  The latter was enacted on June 21, 1971.  According to Heath and Hess, “the bill as introduced was drafted at Senator Bowles’ request by University of North Carolina Law School Professor Thomas Schoenbaum.  The voters of the state approved the proposed constitutional amendment in the general election on November 7, 1972.”

Politics

The October 12, 1971 “Environmental Emphasis Day” (a phrase used by two of the newspapers consulted for this post, but only the Charlotte Observer used capital letters) took place during the very early phase of the campaign season for the upcoming 1972 North Carolina primary elections on May 6.  Hugh Morton announced his gubernatorial candidacy for the Democratic Party on December 1, 1971.

*****

On September 23, 1971 North Carolina Jaycees president T. Avery Nye Jr. announced that Colonel John H. Glenn Jr. would be a keynote speaker at an environmental rally at 8:00 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum,  Nye noted that other speakers would include Oregon’s Republican United States Senator Robert Packwood and former United States Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall.  The Jaycees described the upcoming event at the coliseum as the “first of its kind in the nation.”  The Greensboro Daily News reported that the day would start with Glenn and Udall, “accompanied by announced candidates for governor of North Carolina,” making a “whistle-stop tour” of the state “traveling by private, executive-type aircraft” to rallies at airports in Asheville, Wilmington, Charlotte, and Raleigh-Durham.  Packwood would unite with Udall and Glenn in Greensboro after the tour for the evening rally.  North Carolina’s United States Senator B. Everett Jordon “and most other members of the state’s delegation to Congress and members of the state’s General Assembly” were expected to attend.  Nye also encouraged the general public to attend, noting that no admission or parking fees would be charged.  The rally, Nye said, “is being staged to give North Carolinians an opportunity to show their support for good environmental legislation.”  Attendees were going to be asked to complete a questionnaire on state environmental problems, with the results to be distributed to legislators and members of Congress.

The choice of John Glenn, the celebrated astronaut who nearly a decade earlier had become the first American to orbit Earth, to be a keynote speaker for an environmental conference may seem puzzling to us today, but it was not so at the time.  Glenn had recently chaired Ohio’s Citizens Task Force on Environmental Protection, a bipartisan task force announced by that state’s Governor-elect John J. Gilligan on November  25, 1970.  The panel issued it’s final report in June 1971.  After its publication, Glenn toured around the country promoting Ohio’s study as a model for other states.

Three subsequent articles provided more details about the upcoming event: one in the Asheville Citizen on Monday, October 4, the second in a Daily Tar Heel article published on October 8, and the third in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Sunday, October 10.  The Asheville Citizen article’s headline read “Environment To Be Frequent Topic During October In North Carolina.”  The article described several activities scheduled for the month, including the “statewide environmental rally” in Greensboro that would be preceded on the same day by four airport rallies in Raleigh-Durham, Wilmington, Charlotte, and Asheville. (This order would be the actual order of the tour.)  In addition to listing the expected speakers and invited individuals for the evening rally, the article stated that a “30-minute brand new movie on North Carolina and its environment” would be shown that night.

According to the Daily Tar Heel article, the Jaycees’ event was now co-sponsored with the North Carolina Conservation Council—no other resource, however, mentions this.  The day was to begin in Washington D.C., where Governor Bob Scott, Bowles, Udall, and Glenn would fly to Raleigh-Durham Airport for the first of the four airport rallies.  Later in the day in Greensboro, all but one of the state’s congressmen would fly to Greensboro from Washington for the evening’s rally.  According to the October 12 issue of the News and Observer, however, Governor Scott met the Glenn-Udall party at Raleigh-Durham Airport and then traveled with them to the subsequent rallies.  Scott did not attend the Greensboro event; instead, he returned to Raleigh to celebrate his wife’s birthday.

The Citizen-Times article published just two days before the eventful day stated that the North Carolina Jaycees “put about a year of planning and hard work” into the event.  Thad Woodard, the Jaycees’ state environmental chairman, said,

The rally provides an opportunity for people of the state who have been expressing interest in environmental problems to show the strength of conservationists and environmentalists in North Carolina.  We believe these problems have to be approached both on a legislative and on an educational basis . . . and our legislators and educators need to know that people are genuinely interested in the environment.

The Citizen-TImes also informed readers that the airport visits were to be made in two six-passenger planes provided by First Union National Bank and Northwestern Bank.

*****

News coverage from the host cities’ newspapers shed light on some of the activities for the rallies held on October 12.  The News and Observer assistant city editor Daniel C. Hoover covered the day’s events, but he did not describe much about the Raleigh-Durham airport rally.  Hoover only wrote that Governor Scott “called on official in coastal counties to declare a moratorium on all permits to destroy dunes for development pending a study authorized by the general Assembly.”  Hoover then quoted Scott, who said he would “propose, in the near future, to call together all county and municipal officials of our coastal counties, along with appropriate state officials, to explore solutions to existing and potential coastal problems.”

At the next stop, Ronald G. Dunn, staff writer for the Wilmington Morning Star estimated their airport crowd to be seventy-five people.  John Glenn drew upon his experiences as an astronaut.  He told those gathered that Earth is “in effect a spaceship on which the warning lights are on, so therefore, as spacemen we should take action immediately to save our environment.”  He described the obviousness from space that Earth’s atmosphere is a very shallow layer and that America was likely among the world’s worst polluters.  He also urged involvement, saying “People interest in the United States gets action, so get interested.”  An accompanying UPI photograph with caption depicted Scott, Glenn, Udall and “gubernatorial aspirant Hargrove Bowles” at Raleigh-Durham rather than a scene from the Wilmington airport rally.  Bowles was able to join the group because, as of the environmental emphasis day, he was the only officially declared candidate for governor.

Only thirty people attended the rally in Charlotte according to Charlotte Observer staff writer Susan Jetton.  Perhaps as a result of the sparse attendance, Governor Scott said “efforts of decision-makers are not very successful without the active support of the people.”  Glenn again drew attention to the “warning signals” of pollution that were appearing “on this space ship earth.”  He added, “If we do not start treating our environment with more respect—giving it time to replenish itself—we are in for trouble in the future.”

The Asheville visit drew more than one hundred people, according to staff write Connie Blackwell.  Glenn used the “warning lights” metaphor here, too, but Blackwell added the Glenn did not see himself as “one of the doom and gloom boys.”  Bowles urged the approval of the Environmental Bill of Rights.  Udall and Scott each addressed proposed aspects of the Tennessee Valley Authority project in western North Carolina, the Mills River Dam and Reservoir.  Udall, noting his many visits to western North Carolina during the previous ten years, said he was there that day because “I don’t want to see North Carolina go down the same road” as California.  He noted that his “attitudes have made about a 180-degree turn in the past ten years.  It used to be if a dam was mentioned, I automatically thought it was a good idea.  Now, my reaction would be that it should not be built.”  He continued,

Industrialists came into these valleys years ago and said. “We’ll give you jobs, but we’ll ruin your mountain streams and stink up your pure air.”  They accepted because jobs were so badly needed.  Now we are beginning to realize that it didn’t have to be that way.

*****

Several newspapers and the Associated Press (AP) reported on the evening conference.  David S. Greene of the Greensboro Daily News, report that the first speaker was Udall, who wrote that Udall described “North Carolina as a leading state in maintaining ‘the standard of living,'” but also one that needed to prevent further “despoilment of the environment.”  Udall encouraged attendees to “Hold on to what you’ve got.”  Udall referred specifically Bald Head Island, which he had seen during a flyover earlier in the day.  The AP reported that private developers wanted to build a “plush resort” there and that environmentalists had asked the state to purchase it and maintain its natural state.  Greene noted that the audience applauded when Udall “urged American to listen to young environmentalists.”  Quoting Udall:  “If they have something to contribute let them contribute.  It’s their world.”

The News and Observer reported that Udall, as “the keynote speaker,” suggested that Bald Head Island be added to the existing Cape Lookout National Seashore.  He added during a press conference following the rally that there was “a hang-up” on how to pay for the acquisition.  Hoover wrote that Udall continued by offering a few options “as prospective gubernatorial candidate Hugh Morton hovered at his shoulder snapping pictures.”

Is this Stewart Udall speaking during a press conference at the Greensboro Coliseum after the environmental rally on October 12, 1971 or during a much earlier unknown event possibly related to the Blue Ridge Parkway? Photograph by Hugh Morton, scanned from original negative and cropped to match a print in the collection.

Is this Stewart Udall speaking during a press conference at the Greensboro Coliseum after the environmental rally on October 12, 1971 or during a much earlier unknown event possibly related to the Blue Ridge Parkway? Photograph by Hugh Morton, scanned from original negative and cropped to match a print in the collection.

Senator B. Everett Jordan then introduced John Glenn, first noting legislation to reduce automobile exhaust and the problem of “one hundred million automobile tires lying around our countryside” plus twenty-eight billion bottles, a like number of cans, and millions of tons of paper products.  Jordan then encouraged the audience to increase the recycling of products that have been seen as waste.

John H. Glenn Jr. addressing the audience at the Greensboro Coliseum, with other speakers waiting in the wings. Photographed using a off-angled perspective by Hugh Morton, cropped to a square format by the author.

John H. Glenn Jr. addressing the audience at the Greensboro Coliseum, with other speakers waiting in the wings. Photographed using a off-angled perspective by Hugh Morton, cropped to a square format by the author.

Recalling his orbital spaceflight John Glenn observed, “We do have closed loop systems that have to refurbish themselves, but we are, in fact, in danger of overtaxing our systems.”  He said nature was waving “red flags” of warning and that “people power” was causing industry and government to take notice.  That, in turn, he said “can generate the heat to get something done.  People power, you bet.”  He then dismissed the saying “the solution to pollution is dilution.”  Glenn said, “We see the red flags going up . . . we better do something about it.”

Roy Sowers, director of the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources introduced Republican Senator Robert Packwood of Oregon, the concluding speaker.  Packwood drew much attention and applause as he addressed measures that could advance population control.  “I am committed,” he said, “to stopping this population binge, and reducing it, turning it around.”

*****

Despite the presence of so many politicians, the North Carolina Jaycees tried its best to keep the event from being political, according to Nat Walker in his “Political Notebook” column for the The Greensboro Daily News with the headline “Environmental Rally Becomes Political Gathering—Naturally.”  Walker said, “The succeeded—sort of.”  Only three North Carolina politicians got to speak from the rostrum—Bowles, Sowers, and Jordon—leaving the remaining “real or potential” candidates to “rely on mingling with the crowd or finding some excuse to stand in front of the audience.”

Sporting a "Hugh WHO? Morton for Governor" pin back button, Hugh Morton (right) poses at the Greensboro Coliseum with two unidentified men. Recognize them? Please leave a comment!

Sporting a “Hugh WHO? Morton for Governor” pin back button, Hugh Morton (right) poses at the Greensboro Coliseum with two unidentified men. Recognize them? Please leave a comment!

Mid October was an interesting time in Hugh Morton’s life.  A month earlier, Morton attended the Governor’s Down-East Jamboree as a undeclared candidate for the 1972 Democratic Party primary.  He would officially declare his candidacy on December 1.  This meant that on October 12 Morton was still an “unofficial” candidate, and was not invited to participate in the flights to the airport rallies.  Two newspapers reported specifically about Morton on that day.  The Charlotte Observer characterized Morton as “unhappy.”  In Charlotte, Morton said that he had, “done more in an environmental way than anyone now running for governor.”  He acknowledged that being an unannounced candidate prevented him from participating.  The Greensboro Daily News painted Morton as being in different mood at the evening’s conference.  Bowles, as an “announced” candidate for governor, got to introduce Udall because C. C. Cameron, a member of the state Board of Natural and Economic Resources, did not attend.  Walker wrote that Morton “appeared miffed” and “pointedly noted that the Jaycees had extended him an invitation to attend the coliseum function.”  Walker then recounted a scene where a “woman reporter” asked Morton when he would announce for governor. “Morton snapped, “When I get ready.”  Walker concluded that the reporter “Apparently couldn’t think of a follow up question and left red-faced.”

One for the books

Famous photograph by Hugh Morton made after the 1957 UNC versus Duke football game, as printed in November 25th issue of The Charlotte News.

Famous photograph by Hugh Morton made after the 1957 UNC versus Duke football game, as printed in November 25th issue of The Charlotte News.

The University of North Carolina will meet Duke University on the gridiron for the 103rd time tonight November 10, 2016. The game will be played in Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium and will be featured on ESPN at 7:30 p.m.  Of the 102 previous meetings, Carolina claims 61 wins in the series that dates back to 1888. (Two of those wins, however, have been vacated by a NCAA penalty ruling).  With the rivalry about to play out one more time, Morton collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back 59 seasons to one of those UNC victories that Tar Heels like to recall as “one for the books.”

The only way the Tar Heels of 1957 can go is up.

A preseason comment by UNC Head Football Coach Jim Tatum

When the college football preseason magazines hit the newsstands in late summer of 1957, it seemed a foregone conclusion that Duke would be at the top of the ACC standing when bowl season rolled around in early 1958.  Durham Morning Herald Sports Editor Jack Horner (Hugh Morton liked to call him “Little” Jack Horner), writing for the Street and Smith’s Football 1957 Yearbook, said, “The Blue Devils have the potential to finish atop the loop and rank among the nation’s elite.”  Carolina, having finished the 1956 season with 2 wins, 7 losses, and 1 tie, was predicted to finish a distant fourth at best.

Carolina kicked off the season with a 7-0 home loss to North Carolina State, but got things together and won the next three games, one of which was a 13-7 win against sixth-ranked Navy in Chapel Hill on October 5th—a game many Tar Heels call one of Carolina’s greatest. Duke stormed into the season with five straight wins and by week number six they were ranked fourth nationally behind Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Iowa.

Carolina won two of its next four games, while Duke’s season started to slip a bit.  By the time the two teams reached their big rivalry game on November 23rd, the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils didn’t seem very far apart. Carolina had a 5-3 record; Duke was 6-1-2, and their ranking dropped to eleventh.  Duke was still favored to win the game.  In fact, Carolina hadn’t beaten Duke in eight years since its historic 21-20 victory in 1949.

Early on Thursday, November 21st, the Duke Stadium (it’s now named Wallace Wade Stadium) crew put down twelve large squares of plastic to cover and protect the field from the predicted wet weather.  The lead-ups to the Carolina-Duke football games have always been exciting and the ’57 game was no different despite that cold, rainy weather.  On Friday, November 22nd, Tar Heel students staged the “Beat Dook Parade,” while over in Durham students and alumni enjoyed a huge, twenty-foot bonfire and pep rally.

Game day dawned wet and cold as predicted, but by midday the rain had stopped to the delight of the 40,000 fans in attendance; the 40-degree temperatures, however, remained. For the second time in three years, the game was on TV.  The 1955 game received national attention, but the ’57 affair coverage came from Castleman D. Chesley’s newly-formed regional ACC Network.  Just before kickoff, the Duke cheerleaders rolled the Victory Bell across the field and delivered a basket of oranges to the Carolina cheering squad—just a reminder of Duke’s “next?” game: the Orange Bowl in warm Miami.

November 23, 1957 was also a special day for another reason: Tar Heel football legend Charlie Justice and his wife Sarah Alice were celebrating their 14th anniversary.  Coach Tatum had invited Justice to join the team on the sideline that afternoon, and when photographer Hugh Morton spotted his friend on the field, he of course took a picture. The Morton image would become a featured picture in the 1958 biography Choo Choo: The Charlie Justice Story by Bob Quincy and Julian Scheer, and can be found on page 121.

Two Carolina player buses arrived about 1 p.m., and the first person off the second bus was Coach Tatum wearing his big Texas-style hat.  At 2:05 p.m. it was time for the 44th meeting between the two old rivals.  Duke won referee John Donohue’s coin toss and elected to receive. Fifteen plays later, Duke’s Wray Carlton scored putting the Blue Devils ahead 6 to 0 after 7 minutes of play.  Five minutes later Carlton scored again.  This time he made the extra point and Duke went up 13-0. Then with 3:40 left in the first half, Carolina’s Giles Gaca scored making the halftime score 13-7, Duke.

On its second possession of the second half, Carolina took the lead when Buddy Payne caught quarterback Jack Cummings’ 19-yard pass for a touchdown. Phil Blazer’s PAT made the score 14-13 with 10:10 remaining in the third quarter. (It was the first time Carolina had led Duke since the second quarter of the 1951 game). Smelling victory, Carolina went back to work and six minutes later, Cummings sneaked over to give Carolina an 8-point lead at 21-13. The fourth quarter was scoreless.

The Charlotte News Sideliner column included two Morton spot-game photographs.

The Charlotte News Sideliner column included two Morton spot-game photographs.

Following the final gun, jubilant Tar Heels tore down the goal posts in celebration as Coach Tatum got a ride on the shoulders of his players and fans. Charlie Justice was one of the first to grab Tatum’s hand and Morton photographic contemporary Harold Moore’s Herald-Sun picture of the hand-shake made the front cover of the 1958 UNC Football Media Guide.

Following the traditional coaches handshake, Coach Tatum sought out some of his players for more celebrations. Then, a Tar Heel player who had been forced to watch the game from the sideline reached out to Tatum. First string quarterback Dave Reed, who had been suspended from the team earlier in the season for breaking team rules, embraced the coach in an extremely emotional moment. “I would have given a million dollars to help win this game,” cried Reed.  Said Tatum, “Son, you know it hurt me more than it did you.” Morton’s photograph of the scene is priceless.

In his news conference following the game, Coach Murray said “We were in a commanding position with a two-touchdown lead and we let them get away.”  In the Carolina dressing room, Coach Tatum simply said, “It is certainly my greatest thrill in football. It’s the happiest day I’ve ever known. How about the way those boys came back? Thirteen points down, golly!”  That’s saying a lot about this particular game. Tatum won a national championship at Maryland in 1953.

Overtime by Stephen Fletcher

1957 Press PassKnowing that Hugh Morton had sideline access during the game, I searched through the North Carolina newspapers that typically used Morton’s football photographs, but I never found a published game-action photograph.  Most newspapers published photographs made by their staff photographers.  Of the half-dozen or so newspapers I examined, only The Charlotte News published Morton’s photographs.  There may be game-action photographs from that day hidden in the hundreds of unidentified football negatives in the collection, but thus far none have been located.  Currently there are ten positively identified Morton negatives made either on the sidelines or in the stands during the game, or during the postgame celebration.

Harry Truman and Hugh Morton’s Confederate flag negatives

In our previous post, Jack Hilliard recounted President Harry S. Truman’s participation in the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Winston-Salem campus of Wake Forest College.  We used the photograph below was to illustrate the story, and I mentioned in a parenthetical statement that we would look more closely at the subject in our next post.  On this day with a presidential visit to Chapel Hill, I hereby fulfill my campaign promise.

p0081_ntbs4_000906_02Seven weeks after President Harry S. Truman visited Winston-Salem for the groundbreaking ceremony for Wake Forest College on October 15, 1951, LIFE published a tightly cropped version (see below) of the Hugh Morton photograph shown above in its December 3, 1951 issue.  Morton’s photograph accompanied photographs by other photographers in an article titled, “Warmed Over Again: Politicians turn the Dixie flag into a Sour Gag.”  The brief article paired two other photographs depicting the Confederate flag used in the design of a necktie worn by Alabama Senator Harry Byrd, and as a conductor’s baton in the hand of Atlanta mayor William Hartford directing the city’s symphony playing Dixie.  LIFE published “Warmed Over Again” in a Sequel column as a follow-up to its 15 October article, The Flag, Suh!”

LIFE‘s caption for Morton’s photograph reads, “DUCKING HIS FLAG behind his back, bystander waves loyally at Harry Truman when the latter’s car passes him on its way to Winston-Salem, N.C.” The photograph illustrated a one-paragraph story which concluded with the sentence, “But in Winston-Salem, N.C. one flag waver felt suddenly silly enough to hide the rebel banner when his president passed by.”  On face value that is was appears to be happening.  Can Morton’s other negatives made during Truman’s visit provide some additional insight?  First, some background . . .

Hugh Morton's photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

Hugh Morton’s photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

LIFE‘s The Flag, Suh!”—a one-paragraph article with the subtitle “Confederacy’s banner reaches a new popularity”—stated that “the Confederate Flag last week was enjoying a renascence.”  As examples, the magazine published eight photographs depicting the Confederate flag, including

  • members of the United Daughters of the Confederacy pledging their allegiance;
  • Miss Dixie of 1951 wearing three flags combined to make a blouse;
  • a University of Maryland student’s car as wind-blown decorations as it drives along;
  • a southern division of the U. S. Army parading it along with other colors; and
  • as part of the design of a necktie, worn by southern United States senators’s employees.

The article surmised, “Some interpret all this as an anti-Truman gesture, others possibly more intellectual as a revival in states’ rights.  Most people, however, recognized a fad when they saw one.”

News reporters describing the president’s visit to Winston-Salem offered several nuggets of evidence that give credence to LIFE’s anti-Truman interpretation.  Under the headline, “Confederate Flags Furnish Off Note In Truman Visit,” W. C. Burton, staff writer for the Greensboro Daily Record, described the scene along the presidential route from the airport to Reynolda where the presidential luncheon was to be held:

Crowds lined both sides of the cavalcade’s route through Winston-Salem and the people were is such high spirits that some of them cheered the press busses.  Several of the spectators waved small ten-cent-store United States flags.  A small rebellious, but hardly subversive and probably waggish note, was observed in the Confederate flags which not a few of the onlookers waved.  It may or may not be significant that as the procession moved into the residential section of the better heeled the number of Dixie banners increased.  In any case the secret service men made no move and a hawker who was peddling the Confederate flags admitted that business was not exactly booming.

The Associated Press correspondent assigned to cover Truman, Ernest B. Vaccaro, wrote two articles covering Truman’s trip.  In one, Vaccaro observed that, “Many of the school children along the president’s route waved American flags, but here and there were some Confedete flags.”  Other reporters also took note.  Simmons Fentress of Raleigh’s News and Observer‘s wrote, “There were children by the scores and there were little Confederate flags, dozens of them.  One boy, in a high school band uniform, waved his flag vigorously and shouted, as the cars would pass: ‘The South will rise again.'”  Fentress also wrote, “At one point probably a hundred children were collected.  Perhaps 25 of them had little American flags.  Perhaps 35 of them had little Confederate flags.”

Marjorie Hunter of the Winston-Salem Journal, describing the crowd along the road to Reynolda wrote, “Hundreds of persons waved United States flags as the presidential car passed by.  A few jumped up and down with Confederate flags in their hands.”  Bob Barnard, also with the Winston-Salem Journal described many onlookers including “several little girls waving Confederate flags.”  United Press correspondent Merriman Smith mentioned that “Children and adults waved flags at [Truman’s] car—many of them Confederate banners.”

On a similar note, the Statesville Daily Record recounted the efforts of two young boys who wanted to meet Truman despite the “tight cordon about the President’s party, not allowing anyone to get too close.”  One lad, Charlie Wineberry, “dashed up to the president, proudly wearing his Confederate cap and got a nice handshake from the chief executive.  However, he turned down an offer by newsreel cameramen for a picture with Charlie and the Confederate cap.”

Not limited to the parade route, Confederate flags made their way to the dedication ceremony, too.  The Charlotte Observer noted that “Confederate flags as well as the Stars and Stripes were flying around the grandstand from which President Truman made his address.”  Only United States flags, however, can been seen in Morton’s negative depicting an overview scene of the platform (shown in the previous post).  Perhaps Durham Morning Herald reporter Russell Brantley’s picturing the scene explains it better:

The President, stocky and natty in a double-breasted blue suit, had nothing to say about past squabbles with Southern Democrats over civil rights.  And an estimated crowd of 20,000, many of them Baptists and a number of them sporting Confederate flags, responded with enthusiasm.

Additionally, certain versions of an Associated Press article include a sentence that begins, “The president told the crowd, dozens of whom carried Confederate flags, . . .” So perhaps it was in the grandstands were where the crowd sat, not where the president stood, where the Confederate flags flew.

Does Brantley’e description also shed light on why there were so many Confederate flags that day, namely a displeasure with Truman’s efforts to ensure civil rights for all citizens?  Among Truman’s initial undertakings to this end was the establishment, by Executive Order 9808, of the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in 1946.  The committee had a North Carolina touchstone: Frank Porter Graham, the first president of the consolidated University of North Carolina from 1930 until Truman appointed him to be a member of the committee.  In 1949 Governor W. Kerr Scott, a pro-Truman Democrat (pictured in the photograph above seated next to the president), appointed Graham to complete the term of United States Senator J. Melville Broughton after he died in office after serving only a few months.  In the 1950 race for the seat, Graham lost a primary runoff election to anti-Truman Democrat Willis Smith that was tinged with anti-segrationist sentiments from Smith’s supporters.

Returning to the Morton collection, what else did Hugh Morton photograph that day?  In the collection there are four negatives depicting a man holding a Confederate flag behind his back while waving or possibly saluting Truman.  Morton labeled two of these negatives; both include the name “J. D. Fitz” and “Confederate Flag.”  In addition to the motorcade negative shown above, Morton made three exposures at the airport, similarly posed, one of which is below.

A scan from one of Hugh Morton's 4x5 sheet film negatives labeled with the name J. D. Fitz and "Confederate Flag." Harry Truman is just visible, partially obscured by the left shoulder of the man holding the flag, presumably J. D. Fitz.

A scan from one of Hugh Morton’s 4×5 sheet film negatives labeled with the name J. D. Fitz and “Confederate Flag.” Harry Truman is just visible, partially obscured by the left shoulder of the man holding the flag, presumably J. D. Fitz.

Did Morton encounter this scene, too, with the same person at two different locations?  From the news articles we know this man wasn’t the only person carrying a Confederate flag that day.  Considering Morton’s labeling of the negatives, the “flag waver” mentioned in the LIFE caption is likely J. D. Fitz.  The existence of that many negatives suggests that Morton either preplanned these photographs, encountered Fitz during the event and then staged the similar scenes, or followed Fitz to two locations and then photographed Fitz and his antics.

And who is J. D. Fitz?  I have only a few clues thus far, based upon a United States Census search. In the 1940 census, there is a John D. Fitz, age 24, who lived in Shelby, North Carolina with wife Lina or Lena, who stated his occupation was “Sports Editor” for a “Daily Newspaper.”  The census also provides Fitz’s 1935 residence as Reidsville in Rockingham County.  The Shelby city directory for 1939-1940 lists a “Fitz Jos D (Lena T)” as sports editor for the Shelby Daily Star, but he is not listed in the previous or subsequent Shelby directories.  There is a “Fitz Jos D” listed as a clerk at Kroger Grocery & Baking Co. in 1932 Reidsville city directory, and again as a clerk at Piggly Wiggly in Reidsville’s 1935 city directory.  Given Morton’s love of sports and sports photography, did he know Fitz?

There are two other clues to consider.  In the above photograph, note the reporter-style notebook in the left pocket of the man on the right. Was he also a reporter?  And finally, notice the box at his feet. Could that have been Morton’s camera box?

Are there other possibilities?  What do you think?

Breaking new ground: a transition to Winston-Salem

Prolog
June 5, 1950 was a very special day on the old Wake Forest College campus in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  It was commencement day but it was also the day the College Board of Trustees met and selected Wake’s tenth President.  Near the end of commencement ceremonies, Dean of the College Dr. Daniel Bryan announced that the Board had selected Dr. Harold Wayland Tribble as the new President.  Wake’s college yearbook, Howler, closed its year-end summary for 1950 with these words:

Dr. Tribble enters his new service at the crucial time in both the world and local history. One of his chief jobs during the next few years will be to complete the proposed campus move to Winston-Salem; a move that could presage a new era of Wake Forest service to the South.

Introduction
October 15, 2016 marks the 65th anniversary of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Reynolda Campus at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.  The special guest and keynote speaker that day was President Harry S. Truman.  The special ceremony received national media coverage. Like so many important events in North Carolina’s history, Hugh Morton was there with camera in hand to document the proceedings.  On this special anniversary, Morton Collection volunteer Jack Hilliard looks back to that day in 1951.

President Harry S. Truman giving a speech at a podium at the groundbreaking of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

President Harry S. Truman giving a speech at a podium at the groundbreaking of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

North Carolina’s lead story on March 25, 1946, was that the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation in Winston-Salem’s  had offered $350,000 a year in perpetuity to Wake Forest College, if it would move from Wake Forest, North Carolina where it had been since its founding in 1834, to a new campus in Winston-Salem. Included as part of the deal was 300 acres of land in the Reynolda area from Charles H. Babcock, a Winston-Salem investment banker.  Also in the package was a $2 million challenge grant from William N. Neal and his niece Nancy Reynolds Babcock to cover building expenses.  The Reynolds Foundation offer and the Babcock land deal would increase substantially by October, 1951.

Although Wake Forest’s medical school had made the move to Winston-Salem in 1941, (now the Bowman Gray School of Medicine,) and set up on the Hawthorne Campus about four miles from the Reynolda site, there was still some opposition to the move.  Over its long history, Wake Forest College always seemed to have the right president in place when crucial events were at hand. That was never truer than on a spring day in 1950 when university leaders selected Dr. Harold W. Tribble to head the Baptist institution.  Dr. Tribble knew how to fuel the challenge-grant drive and quell the opposition.  He was able to do both with extensive travels to address alumni groups, preach sermons, and address gatherings such as Gordon Gray’s inauguration as University of North Carolina system president on October 10, 1950.

The university set a groundbreaking date for October 15, 1951.  Dr. Tribble knew the groundbreaking ceremony had to be special, something that would send a signal that the “move is on.”  He was able to utilize special contacts that Gordon Gray had made during his time as a White House assistant, along with the influence of alumnus Gerald Johnson, a columnist for the Baltimore Sun. Dr. Tribble sent a special invitation to President Harry S. Truman to join in the groundbreaking ceremony.  On the afternoon of October 2, 1951, he received word from Matthew Connelly, one of Truman’s White House aides, that the president had accepted the invitation.

Conservative Baptists weren’t exactly thrilled with the choice of Truman because of his rough language from time to time and his pro-civil rights inclinations.  But the importance of a Truman appearance would bring national media coverage and send that clear signal that Tribble wanted: this move is going to happen.

October 15, 1951 was declared a holiday for the 1,800 students on the old Wake Forest campus.  In the early morning hours, buses were lined up and ready to transport the students to Winston-Salem for the groundbreaking ceremony.  All four of Greensboro’s radio stations were in place to broadcast Truman’s speech, plus there was also a nationwide radio hookup.  And the market’s only TV station at the time, WFMY-TV in Greensboro planned to film the proceedings for later broadcast in their news programs.  By late morning, a threat of rain had disappeared leaving a perfect day for the presidential visit and some serious ceremonial spadework.

A crowd estimated at 4,000 was waiting for the president’s arrival at Smith Reynolds Airport.  The Mineral Springs High School Band entertained the crowd with the march “Our Director” and “The Washington and Lee Swing.”  At 10:13 North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott arrived from Raleigh, accompanied by Hugh Morton, member of the state board of Conservation and Development, and Joseph Crawford, former warden at Central Prison.

Two four-engine-planes preceded that of the president: the first carried North Carolina’s congressional delegation while the second carried the Washington press corp.  That second group brought the total number of press members to over 200, including the David Brinkley crew from NBC-TV.  Brinkley, a North Carolina native, had recently joined NBC News in the nation’s capital. Then, at 11:29 AM the president’s plane touched down. At that moment, President Harry S. Truman became the first United States president to visit Winston-Salem since George Washington’s visit during his Southern tour of 1791.  On this day, Truman was aboard a four-engine Air Force transport; his private plane, called the “Independence,” had experienced engine problems and had been left in Washington.

University of North Carolina President Gordon Gray (center) and North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott (left) welcoming President Harry Truman at the Winston-Salem airport, as he arrives to attend ground-breaking ceremonies at the new Winston-Salem, N.C. campus of Wake Forest University.

University of North Carolina President Gordon Gray (center) and North Carolina Governor W. Kerr Scott (left) welcoming President Harry Truman at the Winston-Salem airport, as he arrives to attend ground-breaking ceremonies at the new Winston-Salem, N.C. campus of Wake Forest University.

At the foot of the landing platform, Governor Scott, Tribble, Gray, and Winston-Salem Mayor Marshall C. Kurfees greeted Truman, who was accompanied by his aides from each of the military services.  Scott, Tribble, and Truman then made their way across the tarmac where special limousines were waiting.  Crowds lined both sides of the six-mile route to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Babcock, where the president was honored with a special luncheon.  Winston-Salem Police Chief James I. Waller led the motorcade followed by a car of secret service officers.  Along the route, several in the crowd waved small United States flags, and a few others waved the old Confederate flag. In its December 3, 1951 issue Life published a Hugh Morton photograph of a person holding a Confederate flag behind his back as Truman’s automobile passed by. (Our next post will look at that subject in more detail.)  About 240 North Carolina State Highway Patrolmen, assisted by Greensboro and Winston-Salem police officers patrolled the route. The presidential motorcade arrived at Reynolda at noon.

Hugh Morton's photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

Hugh Morton’s photograph cropped as it appears in LIFE, 3 December, 1951, page 107.

At 1:55 PM, the motorcade reformed and headed to the future home of Wake Forest College where a crowd of about 20,000 was already in place. The ceremony began at 2 PM with an invocation by Dr. Ralph W. Herring, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. Dr. Herring was followed by the formal presentation of the land on which the new college would be located, by Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Babcock.  Dr. Casper Warren, Chairman of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention’s fund-raising committee, then presented a one-million-dollar gift for construction of the first campus building, which was to be a chapel.  Accepting both gifts was Judge Hubert E. Olive, President of the Wake Forest College Board of Trustees.  Gordon Gray then delivered greetings from the educational institutions of North Carolina.

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Detail from the image below of Harry S. Truman speaking at the podium.

At approximately 2:30, Tribble introduced the nation’s chief executive.  Truman, a fellow Baptist, then delivered what had been billed as a major policy address.  The president  began with a tribute to the 117-year-history of Wake Forest College.

It is a privilege to join my fellow Baptists in rejoicing at the enlargement and rebuilding of one of our great institutions.  It is a privilege to join the people of North Carolina in celebrating their devotion to freedom of the mind and spirit. . . Wake Forest College has given 117 years of distinguished service to education and religion in this state.  Over the years, the college has sent thousands of graduates out through the land to positions of leadership and trust.

Truman then talked about the tense international situation, saying that many Americans oppose the present costly defense efforts, which he insisted were essential for peace.  He  made an offer to work out a plan of atomic weapons control with Russia adding, “I cannot guarantee that we will reach our goal. The result does not depend entirely on our own efforts. The rulers of the Kremlin can plunge the world into carnage if they desire to do so. . . . The only way they’ll respect and live up to any agreement is because they know someone is strong enough to carry it out.”  This statement brought many in the crowd to their feet.  Truman closed with this: “Armed with faith and hope that made this college and this country great, you may declare in the words of King David, ‘through God we shall do valiantly.'”

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Following the Presidential address, a dedicatory prayer was given by Dr. George D. Heaton, pastor of Myers Park Baptist Church of Charlotte.  Then it was groundbreaking time. The President was handed a decorated shovel and then yelled to the assembled photographers, “All y’all ready?” He then turned the first shovel full of dirt, followed by Judge Olive, then O. M. Mull, chairman of the college building committee.  President Tribble then turned that final shovel full, thus making it official: the construction of the Reynolda Campus of Wake Forest College in Winston-Salem was underway.

The President headed back to the airport for his return to the Nation’s Capital.  He would be home by 4:47 PM.  It would be almost five years before the completion of the first fourteen buildings, in time for the first students who arrived on the Winston-Salem campus in the fall of 1956.

Epilog:

Dr. Harold W. Tribble led Wake Forest College until his retirement on June 6, 1967.  In his seventeen-year term as president of the school, assets increased from about $10.5 million to more than $91 million and the number of students grew from 1,800 to 3.000.
When Dr. Tribble took office in May of 1950 he had two dreams for the school.  One of those dreams was fulfilled in the fall of 1956 when the first students arrived on the Winston-Salem campus. The second was to see Wake Forest College achieve University status, which it achieved on June 18, 1967—twelve days before Dr. Tribble retired.

Wake Forest’s finest golfer: Arnold Palmer (1929–2016)

Arnold Palmer (center) shakes hands with Howie Johnson after the 1958 Azalea Open Golf Tournament at the Cape Fear Country Club, Wilmington, NC. Azalea Festival Queen Ester Williams smiles between the two good friends. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.

Arnold Palmer (center) shakes hands with Howie Johnson after the 1958 Azalea Open Golf Tournament at the Cape Fear Country Club, Wilmington, NC. Azalea Festival Queen Ester Williams smiles between the two good friends. Photograph by Hugh Morton, cropped by the author.

If I were to write a short story about this afternoon, I would title it “A Tale of Two Sweaters.”

Arnold Palmer, Wake Forest’s finest golfer who also was one of the game’s greatest players, course designers, and ambassadors, died yesterday.  Earlier today, the Wilson Library reference staff received a request from a Wilmington media outlet for two images from the online collection of images of Palmer at the Azalea Open.  Both images had dates of 31 March 1957; one scan came from a negative (cropped by the author) . . .

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the other (below) from a print with no identifying information on its back.

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I quickly noticed that Palmer was not wearing the same sweater in both images, and that the women were also wearing different clothes.  A bit of digging in newspapers on microfilm and online, plus a check with other Morton negatives that are not online (including the scan at the beginning of this post) led to the discovery that the first of these two images was correctly identified.  It depicts the check presentation from Azalea Festival Queen Kathryn Grayson to Palmer after he won the 1957 open, but Morton made the latter after the 1958 tournament.

Here’s is the short storyline for the 1958 Azalea Open finale: Arnold Palmer was the defending champion, but finished second to Howie Johnson after losing a playoff round by one stroke. Palmer and Johnson were reportedly very good friends at the the time.  The following week, Palmer won his first Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.

Ironically, Palmer and Johnson died almost exactly one year apart: Howie Johnson died September 21, 2015.