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“….For [Rhiannon Giddens, a founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops] it was never so much about race as it was about place. ‘I’m a mixed-race person,’ she says, ‘so I grew up exploring…. I knew there was Indian in the family, so I joined [a drumming group] in high school and explored that side of it.

” ‘And you know, none of it felt quite right. Where I found my identity was when I realized that I’m from North Carolina. It’s not so much that I’m black or I’m white or I’m Indian or whatever. I’m Southern. And furthermore I’m a North Carolinian…. And it kind of eclipses the race stuff. It’s like this is who I am, this is where I come from….’ ”

– From “Patsy Cline, Allison Krauss, and Now…Rhiannon Giddens” by Malcolm Jones at the Daily Beast (March 8)

 

“Duke was a case of loathe at first sight for me — Middle Gothic in celophane; gigantic, turreted, battlemented entrances with pneumatic hinged swinging doors in place of iron portcullisses — innumerable chimneys — all dummies — there being a central heating plant; concrete gargoyles, great ivy vines, clamped on with tin. Cloistered picture show. Replica of Westminster, with elevator in tower. Leaded windows in library that let in no light….

“Chapel Hill is lovely & has all but restored my customary serenity & faith in capitalism. I love the place and want to live here. It is an Oxford planted on more fertile soil than Methodism, & unraped by Coca Cola [Emory University] or Chesterfield [Duke]….”

– C. Vann Woodward, writing Glenn W. Rainey, early October 1933, in “The Letters of C. Vann Woodward” (2013)

Rainey and Woodward had been friends since attending Emory together. Rainey was embarking on 42 years of teaching English at Georgia Tech. Woodward, then researching Georgia populist Tom Watson, would receive a PhD in history from UNC in 1937.

 

“When I was growing up, Billy Graham was very popular. He was the greatest preacher and evangelist of my time — that guy could save souls and did. I went to two or three of his rallies in the ’50s or ’60s. This guy was like rock ’n’ roll personified — volatile, explosive. He had the hair, the tone, the elocution — when he spoke, he brought the storm down. Clouds parted. Souls got saved, sometimes 30- or 40,000 of them.

“If you ever went to a Billy Graham rally back then, you were changed forever. There’s never been a preacher like him. He could fill football stadiums before anybody. He could fill Giants Stadium more than even the Giants football team. Seems like a long time ago. Long before Mick Jagger sang his first note or Bruce strapped on his first guitar — that’s some of the part of rock ’n’ roll that I retained. I had to. I saw Billy Graham in the flesh and heard him loud and clear.”

– From “Bob Dylan: The Uncut Interview” by Robert Love in AARP the Magazine (February/March)

On this day in 1935: Once again assailing the Roosevelt administration on the floor of the Senate, rogue populist Huey Long of Louisiana points toward New Deal supporter Josiah Bailey of North Carolina. About the existence of poverty, Long asks rhetorically, “You will take my word for it, won’t you?” Bailey stands and, as gasps echo from the galleries, replies that “I am utterly unwilling to take your word for that or anything else!” In the ensuing exchange, Long threatens to campaign against Bailey’s reelection, and Bailey suggests that Long’s interference in N.C. politics would be met with tar and feathers.

Remarkably, the two will remain friends. Long often drops by Bailey’s Mayflower Hotel apartment for drinks, and Bailey invites Long on fishing trips from Morehead City. On one such expedition Long, expounding his plans to become dictator-president, supposedly says his first move would be to have Bailey shot. Bailey is amused, but confides later that he thought Long had been perfectly serious. Long himself is assassinated on Sept. 8, 1935.

 

How Weather Predictions are Made - An Explanation of the Principles on Which Forecasts are Based.

The progressive farmer and the cotton plant. (Raleigh, N.C.), 18 April 1905. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

 

Spring is just around the corner! In the last couple of weeks, Chapel Hill and the East Coast have been abuzz about the weather. With all of our modern day radar and forecasting technology, the elements are still unpredictable. What resources were available 100 years ago to predict the weather? The above article from the April 18, 1905 issue of The Progressive Farmer and the Cotton Plant discusses some of the tools and techniques U.S. government forecasters used to predict the weather in 1905. It touts forecasters’ 80 percent accuracy rate in calling the weather.

Since its inception in 1886, The Progressive Farmer has transformed from a local newspaper to a country life oriented magazine with a strong web presence. The online weather briefing delivered by today’s Progressive Farmer includes numerous forecasts as well as indices for drought and crop moisture.

 

 

“This little guy [I-73] sees itself, someday — way over a unicorn-filled rainbow in the distant future — as a direct connection between Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the South Carolina Coast. For now it’s the country’s least busy interstate, a wee 77-mile heart line to Andre the Giant’s last home in Ellerbe, North Carolina.”

– From “The U.S. Interstate Highways, Ranked” at MapQuest (Feb. 20)

Stipulating that “ranking the Lower 48’s two-digit, primary Interstates — 66 in all… is a subjective business,” Robert Reid takes into consideration not only “vehicle travel miles per mile of Interstate,” but also “the general joy of the ride as a whole.”

North Carolina’s Interstates fall in the middle of Reid’s pack, except for the one that no traveler of the coastal plain will be surprised to see ranked No. 66. (But that doesn’t mean it lacks excitement!)

 

Today is National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day.  Grab your favorite jar of peanut butter and try out one of these recipes.

USED 3-1-15 Reece's Peanut Butter Tarts - Heavenly Delights

 

Reece’s Peanut Butter Tarts from Heavenly delights.

USED 3-1-15 Peanut Butter Sandwich - Keepers of the Hearth

Peanut Butter Sandwich from Keepers of the hearth : based on records, ledgers and shared recipes of the families connected with Mill Prong House, Edinborough Road, Hoke County, North Carolina.

USED 3-1-15Peanut Butter Ice Cream Balls - Best of the Best

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Balls from Best of the best from North Carolina : selected recipes from North Carolina’s favorite cookbooks.

USED 3-1-15 Peanut butter roll-ups - The Charlotte Cookbook

Peanut Butter Roll-Ups from The Charlotte cookbook.

USED 3-1-15 Our Homemade Peanut Butter-Our Own Kitchen Survival Kit

Our Homemade Peanut Butter from Our own kitchen survival kit.

USED 3-1-15 Peanut Butter Brownies-The Pantry Shelf

Peanut Butter Brownies from The Pantry shelf : 1907-1982.

USED 3-1-15 Cream of Peanut Butter Soup - Bone Appetit

Cream of Peanut Butter Soup from A book of favorite recipes.

 

“Our engagement here in High Point has been most pleasant. This morning, I read to the various colored schools, and at the white high school. Sold gangs of books….”
–From a letter from Langston Hughes to Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP (Dec. 8, 1931).

As noted by Nicholas Graham, Hughes’ eventful stay in Chapel Hill has been well chronicled. Less so his subsequent visit to High Point. I haven’t been able to find an account of his appearance at “the white high school” (High Point High), but the student newspaper at (white) High Point College covered what seems to have been a thoroughly uninflammatory reading at (black) William Penn High School:

“Langston Hughes, called by some ‘the greatest living negro poet,’… explained his compositions by telling the stories and incidents which gave rise to them….

“[His] love poems expressed the colored peoples’ life of romance. Most of the poems were short, with a clever sense of realism and emotion.

“Spiritual or religious poems…expressed the negroes’ emotions. Just opposite his spirituals are his ‘blues’ poems. They represent the emotional life of the negro, dealing with his troubles and loneliness….

“Perhaps his best known poem is ‘The Negro Mother,’in which he pays tribute to the colored race of all past ages and predicts for ‘the colored children’ happier and more worthy achievements.

“[Professor of religion] Dr. P. E. Lindley…reports a very enjoyable and delightful evening. He considers Hughes a very prominent rising negro scholar and poet.”

 

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.

“Whatever its origin, the phrase soon became ubiquitous…. By 1853, the New York Times could observe that ‘the underground railroad’ had ‘come into very general use to describe the organized arrangements made in various sections of the country, to aid fugitives from slavery.’

“That same year, a North Carolina newspaper [the Raleigh Daily Register] offered its own definition: ‘An association of abolitionists whose first business is to steal, or cause to be stolen, seduced or inveighed…. slaves from southern plantations…. to steal [a slave] from an indulgent and provident master, to carry him to a cold, strange, and uncongenial country, and there leave him… to starve, freeze and die, in glorious freedom.’ ”

– From “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad” by Eric Foner (2015)

 

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