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I’m stymied. I obtained these place cards from a collector who was breaking up a full set of U.S. senators said to have attended a presidential — perhaps — dinner.

If so, because of the long and nearly simultaneous tenures of Lee Overman (1903-1930) and  Furnifold Simmons (1901-1931), the hosting president could have been Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge or Hoover.

Overman was from Salisbury, Simmons from New Bern — simple enough. But what about “Via Charlotte” and “Via Wilmington”? Railroad connections? Why would that be worth mentioning?

And what might the initial “B” stand for?

Thoughts welcome!

1. True or false: Among the crimes requiring the death penalty in early 19th-century North Carolina were burglary, bigamy, sodomy, highway robbery, dueling where death occurs and hiding a slave with intent to free him.

2. In three years FDR’s Works Progress Administration built 63,311 of these in North Carolina — what were they?

3. In 1932 a crowd of 15,000 turned out in Goldsboro to watch what event?

4. The otherwise obscure Ervin T. Rouse, a native of Dover in Craven County, wrote what has been called the best-known fiddle tune of the 20th century. What was it?

5. In 1895 after the N.C. legislature passed a resolution honoring the recently deceased abolitionist Frederick Douglass, protesters demanded a $10,000 loan for what purpose?

Answers below….

 

 

 

 

 

1. True. One explanation for such an extensive list: The lack of a state penitentiary left no suitable alternative to capital punishment.

2. Outhouses. Typically built with concrete floors and ventilation shafts, they were an effective deterrent to hookworms and other public health concerns.

3. A “Hoover Cart Rodeo,” a parade of 300 cannibalized, mule-powered automobiles. Hoover carts, like shanty-town Hoovervilles, linked the Depression to President Herbert Hoover. Each parade entrant received a three-pound bag of grits and a pass to see the Marx Brothers in “Horsefeathers.”

4. “Orange Blossom Special,” composed in 1938, along with the less successful “(I’ve Got Those) Craven County Blues.”

5. To build a Confederate monument on the Capitol grounds. After organizing first to bring home and rebury the state’s dead from Gettysburg, Confederate widows broadened their cause to building monuments and otherwise glorifying the Lost Cause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This humble, well-used cardboard hand fan combines three key elements of black history in North Carolina:

— Dr. King.

North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance, the state’s preeminent black business.

— The typically un-air-conditioned churches that accommodated not only worship services but also civil rights meetings.

 

This photograph by Herald-Sun staff photographer Jim Thornton appeared on the front page of the 17 February 1960 issue of The Durham Morning Herald. Pictured here is a scan made from the original negative, shown without cropping.

This photograph by Herald-Sun staff photographer Jim Thornton appeared on the front page of the 17 February 1960 issue of The Durham Morning Herald. Pictured here is a scan made from the original negative, shown without cropping.

A few days ago on January 9th, The Herald-Sun published a story online titled, “When Martin Luther King Jr. came to Durham.”  The article included a photograph of King and others walking on Durham’s West Main Street on February 16, 1960.  They were on their way to the F. W. Woolworth & Company lunch counter, which the store had kept closed after the February 8th sit-in by North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University) students protesting against segregated seating.  That protest came on the heels of the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in at Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1st.

The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives is the home of The Herald-Sun negatives.  There are two sets of negatives in the collection that document King’s 1960 trip to Durham: twelve negatives by Jim Thornton of King’s walk to Woolworth’s, and twenty negatives attributed to Harold Moore (based upon a caption in The Durham Sun) that depict two views of sidewalk picketers and twenty-one negatives of King visit to White Rock Baptist Church.

Photographer Jim Thorton's selected negative, which was not published, of Martin Luther King and others as Martin Luther King, Jr. and others walked to Woolworth's.

Photographer Jim Thorton’s selected negative, which was not published, of Martin Luther King and others as Martin Luther King, Jr. and others walked to Woolworth’s.

The above negative by Thornton has a punch-hole beneath the image area, which typically designates the photographer’s or editor’s choice images.  Neither The Durham Morning Herald nor The Durham Sun published that view.  Instead, the latter published a cropped view of the following negative . . . removing the young bystander of history on the far left.

The full frame of Jim Thornton's published photograph of Rev. Douglas Moore, pastor of Asbury Temple Methodist Church; Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; Ralph Abernathy; and Lacy Streeter, North Carolina College student and president of the NCC chapter of the NAACP.

The full frame of Jim Thornton’s published photograph of Rev. Douglas Moore, pastor of Asbury Temple Methodist Church; Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; Ralph Abernathy; and Lacy Streeter, North Carolina College student and president of the NCC chapter of the NAACP.

During the evening, King spoke at a filled-to-capacity White Rock Baptist Church.  King’s speech has been dubbed informally his “Fill Up the Jails” sermon.  As The Durham Sun reported:

‘Let us not fear going to jail if the officials threaten to arrest us for standing up for our rights.’  Negroes must be willing ‘to fill up the jails of the South’ to gain their point. . . . Maybe it will take this willingness to stay in jail to arouse the dozing conscience of our nation.’

Martin Luther King, Jr. during his speech at White Rock Baptist Church on 16 February 1960.

Martin Luther King, Jr. during his speech at White Rock Baptist Church on 16 February 1960.

1. During the Depression the Raleigh Community Chest gave destitute families a food allowance of how much per day — a nickel, a quarter or a dollar?

2. What governor and U.S. senator characterized North Carolina as a state “given to sober second-thought”?

3. True or false: Sir Walter Raleigh never spelled his name as the city is spelled today.

4. What novel inspired these rejections from publishers: “Marred by stylistic cliches, outlandish adjectives and similes”… “We had four books of this type last year, and each one failed” … “Terrible.”

5. What Tabor City-born country singer shares his name with a famed Civil War general?

Answers below

 

 

 

 

 

1. A nickel.

2. Zeb Vance.

3. True. Explains author Bill Bryson in “Made in America”: “One of the more striking features of life in the early colonial period is how casual people were with the spelling of their names. Sir Walter Raleigh, for instance, changed the spelling of his surname as one might change a shirt, sometimes styling himself Rawleyghe, sometimes Rawley, sometimes Ralegh. His friends and associates were even less specific, addressing him Ralo, Ralle, Raulie, Rawlegh, Rawlighe, Rawlye, and some 65 other…variants. The one spelling he apparently never used is … Raleigh.”

4 . “Look Homeward Angel,” Thomas Wolfe’s first novel.

5. Stonewall Jackson, whose biggest hit came in 1959: “Waterloo.” (Stonewall is his real name.)

 

“Largest payroll per capita” may be a meaningful metric to economists, but it seldom appears in Google — and nowhere attached to Conover. Among those bragging: Coos Bay, Oregon, and Frankfort, Michigan. 

This promotional license plate likely dates to World War II, when metal shortages inspired Montana, Virginia and other states to make their official plates from a soybean-based fiberboard that proved more popular with goats, horses and mice than with motorists.

Conover has a diverse manufacturing history — including the delightfully named Picker Stick and Handle — but its population during the 1940s barely topped 1,000, so the per capita distinction may also grow out of small sample size.

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1. In 1943, Charlotte’s VFW and American Legion posts each held street dances, attended by thousands, to benefit what cause?

2. According to legend, the waters off the Outer Banks were first referred to as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” by what future political figure?

3. True or false: Wild boars are native to North Carolina.

4. In 1940 what publication proposed that Communist Party members in North Carolina be put into “concentration camps” as “foreign agents”?

5. In 1966 what organization filled Raleigh’s 3,000-seat Memorial Auditorium for a rally (and turned away 2,000 more)?

Answers below

 

 

 

 

 

1. Sending cigarettes to U.S. troops. On the back of each pack: “The Citizens of Charlotte, N.C., Send Christmas Smokes for our Overseas Fighting Folks.” Each dance raised enough money to send more than 900,000 cigarettes.

2. Alexander Hamilton, who as a teenager had survived a harrowing passage along the East Coast — but there’s no record he coined “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”

3. False. In 1912, 14 European sows and boars were imported for a game preserve in Graham County. Escapees from the poorly secured lot wasted little time breeding and making themselves at home in the mountain terrain. In 1979 the legislature declared the boar a game animal.

4. The Charlotte Observer.

5. The Ku Klux Klan. Membership in the “Carolina Klan” at that point was estimated at 12,000 — more than all other Southern states combined.

 

“Mac Healy announced that the North Carolina Civil War History Center had been renamed the North Carolina Civil War and Reconstruction History Center. Healy is the chairman of the foundation promoting what would become the state’s premier Civil War center.

“Reconstruction refers to not only the formal time period recognized by historians as between 1865 to 1877, but to the years after that. Healy said people were still feeling the [effects] of the war after that period.

“ ‘North Carolina was defined by the Civil War, but you have to keep in mind that there were relatively few battles fought here, so that’s why our center is searching for stories of how families dealt with the hardships that came as a result of the Civil War,’ Healy said.”

— From “City Council raises concerns about poverty initiative, Civil War center” by in the Fayetteville Observer (Jan. 2)

 

Moonshine mini-jugs were once found in souvenir shops coast to coast, but nowhere as commonly as in — how did you guess! — North Carolina.

State Capitol? Check. Mount Mitchell State Park? Check. USS North Carolina? Check….

This jug from the Cherokee Reservation seems less comical than poignant, given Native Americans’ long struggle with alcoholism and addiction.

 

“The diary [of John N. Benners] is an almost daily account of the years 1857 to 1860. I open the old volume to the first page and I am immediately swept up: Jan. 24. 1857. The river still frozen, navigation entirely impeded. A large sea vessel frozen up at Wilkinson’s Point [in what is now Pamlico County]. The weather was so very cold this week no work could be done outdoors….

“The ‘large sea vessel’ was the schooner Isaac W. Hughes. Benners was witnessing the great freeze of ’57, of which there are many accounts, though few so poignantly rendered.

“At Wilkinson Point , the Neuse is opening into the Pamlico Sound and is miles wide. Benner had never seen the river freeze from shore to shore before, and I have not heard of it doing so since.

“The freeze of 1857 became an enduring benchmark in the passage of time on the North Carolina coast, like the great meteor shower of 1833 or Hurricane Hazel in 1954….”

— From “John N. Benners’ Journal: A Saltwater Farmer & His Slaves” by David Cecelski at davidcecelski.com (Oct. 2, 2017)

 

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