” ‘I don’t know that Trump has historical awareness at all,’ Fitzhugh Brundage, the chair of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told me…. ‘I’ve had any number of colleagues say they feel recommitted and energized to do what they do, because of its very importance now.’

“Brundage told me that he has fought against ‘fake history’ for decades; in the 1980s, he often heard bizarre claims related to Pearl Harbor — that Franklin Roosevelt intentionally allowed the Japanese to attack or tried suppressing information about a potential attack and whether it would bring the U.S. into the war. ‘Every now and then Reagan made weird statements, like having been there when they liberated concentration camps,’ Brundage said. ‘But that may have been the onset of Alzheimer’s. All of which is to say: I’ve dealt with fake history before, but not sustained by a President adding to it.’ ”

— From “Teaching Southern and Black History Under Trump” by in the New Yorker (Feb. 2)

This just in: yet another contribution to the archives of fake history….


On this day in 1930: After a month’s rest at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville fails to halt his mental and physical deterioration, William Howard Taft submits his resignation as chief justice of the United States.

Taft, who earlier served as president, is 73 years old, weighs 300 pounds and suffers from progressive heart disease. After sending his resignation ahead, he returns by train to Washington, where he will die barely a month later.


Several new titles just added to “New in the North Carolina Collection.” To see the full list simply click on the link in the entry or click on the “New in the North Carolina Collection” tab at the top of the page. As always, full citations for all the new titles can be found in the University Library Catalog and they are all available for use in the Wilson Special Collections Library.

Today over on the DigitalNC blog we’re sharing 10 examples of North Carolina student protests, beginning with the historic Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in on this date in 1960 and continuing up to 2012.

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center is located in Wilson Library and works closely with the North Carolina Collection. We’ll occasionally be cross-blogging some posts that North Carolina Miscellany readers may find interesting.

On this day in 1927: High Point Mayor H.A. Moffit orders that all future public dances must stop at midnight. According to a dispatch in The Charlotte Observer, the mayor’s announcement followed “a series of four terpsichorean events staged in connection with the furniture exposition. The mayor made an exception . . . in order that the visiting furniture men might be entertained more elaborately.”


In May 1926, roughly 150 female textile mill workers from Charlotte and Gastonia paid a visit to President Calvin Coolidge in the White House. A photograph from their visit is our January Artifact of the Month.

white house photo

The newspaper accounts we’ve found don’t reveal how the visit was initiated, but they do tell us that the girls and women worked hard to fund their trip, “producing plays, selling movie tickets, staging parties, making and selling candy, and in a dozen other ways” — in addition to the hard work they were undoubtedly doing in the mill.

At the White House, the delegation presented the president with Charlotte-made cloth and Gastonia spun yarns from the Chadwick-Hoskins and the Highland Park Mills. The question on everyone’s mind was whether Coolidge would meet the women personally; he hadn’t shaken any hands since his father’s death months before.

But Coolidge shook the hand of every member of the group — to the delight of the women and of newspaper headline writers, who gushed effusively:

Coolidge Gives Carolina Girls Genuine Thrill
Shakes Hands with 150 Piedmont Textile Workers

Young Women Having Time of Their Lives
Worshiped Sunday in Same Church with President and Mrs. Coolidge

142 Carolina Industrial Girls Honored in Washington
Appearance and Conduct Make Hit in National Folk

The other men in the photo are US Senator Lee Slater Overman and US Congressman A.L. Bulwinkle, both from North Carolina, with whom the delegation met. Bulwinkle also acted as the group’s official escort in Washington.

white house photo detail

For firsthand perspective on the event, one newspaper article quotes a young women identified as “pretty 16-year-old Beulah Crouch, who, with the aid of her brother, supports her mother, younger sister and invalid brother by her work in the Nebel Knitting Mills of Charlotte.” Crouch says, “This trip has taught us many things, and one of them is how to act in a large crowd, and to be proud of our country. We shall have lots and lots to look back to in the future.”

We’re grateful to Charlotte Observer librarian Maria David for salvaging this photo and donating it to the North Carolina Collection, as well as to Lew Powell for conveying it to us. Thanks, too, to NCC Photographic Archivist Stephen Fletcher for research help and for overseeing the proper care and housing for this unique photographic treasure.

Michael Behrent, history professor at App State, believes that the changes in how public universities are funded represent an ‘economic and political model that is hostile toward the very idea of public institutions’ — and one hostile to the teaching staff upon whose services it relies. Altha Cravey, a geography professor at UNC-CH… cites data from UNC showing that 59 percent of the faculty at Chapel Hill are now in non-tenure-track positions, versus only 12 percent in 2003….

“The future of academic work is at stake. The midcentury model of shared faculty governance in higher education is eroding, replaced by a top-down, corporate technocracy…. If current trends continue, an entire generation of academics will come of age in a world in which the gulf between the tenured and non-tenured is entrenched, in which work is precarious and low pay, in which profits flow upwards toward administrators….

“Black Mountain College reminds us that there are other ways forward….”

— From “The most influential college you’ve never heard of, why it folded and why it matters” by Sammy Feldblum at Scalawag (Aug. 24)

Feldblum makes a thoughtful and important argument, however quixotic. 


On this day in 1918: A spinal meningitis quarantine shuts down Charlotte’s amusement places, churches, schools and public gatherings. The quarantine will be lifted after two weeks, but 10 months later the city is again quarantined, this time because of an epidemic of influenza.


“Bluff City BBQ opened last month — in a New York suburb.

“And there’s Memphis Style BBQ Company. Location:  Seminole, Florida.

“And there’s Porky J’s Memphis Style BBQ in San Antonio.

“And there’s a restaurant chain called Memphis Barbecue Co. operating  in Fayetteville, North Carolina….

“There are, of course, other regional favorites such as Texas beef barbecue, Kansas City barbecue with its thick, tomato- and molasses-based sauce, and the whole-hog North Carolina barbecue featuring a vinegary sauce.

” ‘But the Memphis style is “right up there at the top,” ‘ said [Linda] Orrison, National Barbecue [& Grilling] Association president.

” ‘As far as the consumer is concerned, that’s the one word that solidifies barbecue to them.’ ”

— From “BBQ spots across U.S. lay claim to ‘Memphis’ name” in the Memphis Commercial-Appeal (Jan. 20)


On this day in 1862: Pvt. D.L. Day, Co. B, 25th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, writing in his diary at Hatteras Inlet:

“Witnessing boat collisions and wrecks is getting old and the boys are amusing themselves by writing letters, making up their diaries, playing cards, reading old magazines and newspapers which they have read half a dozen times before; and some of them are actually reading their Bibles.

“Of all the lonely, God-forsaken looking places I ever saw, this Hatteras island takes the premium. It is simply a sandbar rising a little above the water…. I don’t think there is a bird or any kind of animal, unless it is a dog, on the island, not even a grasshopper, as one would have to prospect the whole island to find a blade of grass, and in the event of his finding one would sing himself to death…. It is the key, or gate-way, to nearly all of eastern North Carolina.”


« Newer Posts - Older Posts »