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If you’re already fed up with the 2016 presidential campaign and aching for a new candidate to shake things up, our December Artifact of the Month is for you!

dizzy_gillespie4pres_button500

The artifact is a pinback button reading “Dizzy Gillespie for President.” Dizzy Gillespie, of course, being the jazz trumpeter who earned his place in the pantheon of masters in the 1940s and 50s. Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina, less than 15 miles from the North Carolina border. He spent two years in North Carolina studying at the Laurinburg Institute as a young man on a music scholarship, before his rise to fame and long before this button was made.

Now, if you’ve never thought of Gillespie as a politician you may be wondering why this button was made.

The practice of printing joke items reading “___________ for President” has long been a promotional tool for performers and other celebrities. That’s what the “Dizzy Gillespie for President” slogan was initially — just a funny tool for promotion. Gillespie’s booking agency, Associated Booking Corporation, created the buttons as merchandise for fans, probably in the late 1950s.

But several years later, with the fight for civil rights taking on increasing urgency and the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom serving as inspiration, Gillespie decided he would, in fact, launch a presidential campaign. He had a political platform, a campaign manager, and a slate of jazz greats shortlisted for his cabinet.

Gillespie pitched his candidacy as a third choice in the 1964 presidential race between Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry Goldwater. And although he never got on the ballot in any state, his campaign did serve as a valid — if sometimes lighthearted — critique of the issues.

1955 portrait of Dizzy Gillespie from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection, reproduction number LC-USZ62-102156 DLC.

1955 portrait of Dizzy Gillespie from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Van Vechten Collection. File here.

In his memoir, To Be, or not… to Bop, Gillespie writes, “Anybody coulda made a better President than the ones we had in those times, dillydallying about protecting blacks in the exercise of their civil and human rights and carrying on secret wars against people around the world.”

How would a Gillespie presidency have been different? He would have had NASA send at least one black astronaut to space. Transformed the White House into the Blues House. Revoked the citizenship of Alabama Governor George Wallace and deported him to Vietnam. Required the Senate Internal Security Committee to investigate “everything under white sheets” for un-American activities.

Gillespie acknowledged later that the campaign “had its humorous side,” but the media attention he received shed light on critical issues like segregation and employment discrimination. He writes:

There were pressures on me to withdraw from the race after the press began to show some interest, and they found out that I was a serious candidate. Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee, an arch conservative, tried to split and draw away my support from the jazz community by naming Turk Murphy as his favorite musician. I replied, ‘All I can say is don’t blame Turk for that. I’m glad he didn’t pick me.’

The election took place on November 3, 1964. And — spoiler alert — Gillespie didn’t win. But his campaign was a media-savvy way to bring important ideas into the national conversation.

This pinback button is part of a recent donation of objects from donor and longtime friend of the NCC Lew Powell, along with a trove of other buttons, three-dimensional artifacts, and paper ephemera from North Carolina. We look forward to sharing more from the Lew Powell Memorabilia Collection in the new year!

“The signs [at Biltmore House] telling you the admission fee were practically invisible, but you could see from the ashen-faced look on people as they staggered away from the ticket windows that it must be a lot. Even so I was taken aback when my turn came and the unpleasant-looking woman at the ticket window told me that the admission fee was $17.50 for adults and $13 for children. ‘Seventeen dollars and fifty cents!‘ I croaked. ‘Does that include dinner and a floor show?’

“The woman was obviously used to dealing with hysteria and snide remarks. In a monotone she said, ‘The admission fee includes admission to the George Vanderbilt house, of which 50 of the 250 rooms are open tho the public. You should allow two to three hours for the self-guided tour. It also includes admission to the extensive gardens for which you should allow 30 minutes to one hour. It also includes admission and guided tour of the winery with audiovisual presentation and complimentary wine tasting. A guide to the house and grounds, available for a separate charge, is recommended. Afterwards you may wish to spend further large sums of money in the Deerpark Restaurant or, if you are a relatively cheap person, in the Stable Cafe, as well as avail yourself of the opportunity to buy expensive gifts and remembrances in he Carriage House Gift Shop.’

“But by this time I was already on the highway again, heading for the Great Smoky Mountains, which, thank God, are free…”

— From “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America” by Bill Bryson (1989) 

In the quarter century since Bryson’s visit, cost of admission to Biltmore House has risen to $60 (no charge for children accompanied by adults).

 

Crock Pot Beef Stew - Heavenly Delights

Crock Pot Beef Stew from Heavenly delights.

Crockpot Chicken Parmigiana - Cooking on the Cutting Edge

Crockpot Chicken Parmigiana from Cooking on the cutting edge.

Crock Pot Picnic - Heavenly Helpings

Crock Pot Picnic from Heavenly helpings, seasoned with love : recipes collected from great cooks past and present of White Oak Baptist Church, Archer Lodge, NC.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Stout Pot Roast - Well, Shut My Mouth!

Slow Cooker Chocolate Stout Pot Roast from Well, shut my mouth! : the Sweet Potatoes Restaurant cookbook.

Crockpot Creamed Corn - Welkom

Crockpot Creamed Corn from Welkom : Terra Ceia cookbook III, a collection of recipes.

Swamp Soup-Red's Cook Book

Swamp Soup from Red’s cook book : (road kill not included).

“The recent visit of Mickey Rooney to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where I am stationed, is an event I shall always remember, even though he left my morale just where he found it. Young Mr. Rooney dropped in more or less under the auspices of the U.S.O. His arrival was breathlessly awaited and, though my buddies and I were naturally not permitted to leave our duties to greet him at the railroad station in the adjacent town of Fayetteville, we heard later that enough affectionate townsfolk had tried to pull his clothes off to make the reception a success.

“After that orthodox beginning, his visit became rather strange, for a movie star. His manager, a ubiquitous gentleman who seemed to be under the impression he was escorting the Holy Grail, somehow persuaded the camp authorities that his lively cargo’s cruise around the post should not be chronicled by the local press. At this the press became highly indignant. One correspondent, denied the privilege of speaking directly with the great man, reported uncharitably that Rooney’s face, off the screen, was as green as his suit….”

— From “Andy Hardy Comes to Camp” by Pvt. E. J. Kahn Jr. in The New Yorker (June 13, 1942)

According to the recent “The Life and Times of Mickey Rooney” by Richard A. Lertzman and William J. Birnes, Rooney put on a much more winning performance in a sidetrip to meet the mother of Ava Gardner, to whom he was secretly married.

 

Back in August we sent out a call to alumni seeking clothing from their student days. The items will be used in an exhibition about student fashion at UNC in the twentieth century.

We’ve been thrilled by the generous response to our request: Alumni have come forward with a mountain of fantastic items to loan and donate. As we make final decisions about what we have space for in the exhibit, we’re looking for a handful of specific items to fill in a few gaps.

Do you have any of these in your attic or closet?

From the late 1960s and early 1970s

Black Power necklace

Black Power necklace

Tie-dye t-shirt

Tie-dye t-shirt

Dashiki

Dashiki

From the mid- to late 1970s

Colorful head scarf

Colorful head scarf

Wide tie

Wide tie

From the 1970s or 1980s

Custom message t-shirt made (just for you!) in the Shrunken Head Boutique

Custom message t-shirt made (just for you!) in the Shrunken Head Boutique

Foster Grant sunglasses

Foster Grant sunglasses

Foster Grant sunglasses

Foster Grant sunglasses

From the early 1980s

Roller skates

Roller skates

Striped tube socks

Striped tube socks

Big plastic glasses frames

Big plastic glasses frames

Square-end knit tie

Square-end knit tie

From the late 1980s

Legwarmers

Legwarmers

Clothing with Benetton label

Clothing with Benetton label

Sweatshirt with the neck cut off

Sweatshirt with the neck cut off

Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses (or Wayfarers)

Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses (or Wayfarers)

Checkered slip-on Vans sneakers

Checkered slip-on Vans sneakers

From the 1990s

Baja jacket

Baja jacket

Slouch socks

Slouch socks

Pleated shorts

Pleated shorts

Button-down plaid shirt

Button-down plaid shirt

Scrunchie

Hair scrunchie

Hemp jewelry

Hemp jewelry

From any era

Rainbow sandals

Rainbow sandals*

Can you help?

If you have any of these articles and would be willing to lend or donate them for the exhibit, please get in touch by calling the North Carolina Collection Gallery at 919-962-0104 or by emailing jack@email.unc.edu.


* All photos from UNC’s yearbook, The Yackety Yack, except Rainbow Sandals photo by JVO27.

Fondue Party Picture - On Campus Cookbook

Image from On campus cookbook.

Cheese Fondue-From Coastal Carolina Cupboards

Cheese Fondue from From coastal Carolina cupboards.

Shrimp Fondue Dip - Rush Hour Superchef!

Shrimp Fondue Dip from Rush hour superchef! : with step-by-step menus.

Tomato and Cheese Fondue - The Country Gourmet Cookbook

Tomato and Cheese Fondue from The country gourmet cookbook.

Swiss Fondue - Cook Book

Swiss Fondue from Cook book.

Tuna fondue - Historic Moores Creek Cook Book

Tuna Fondue from Historic Moores Creek cook book : a collection of old and new recipes.

“On November 29, 2014, I received a phone call from an officer of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission named John Beardsley. He was investigating a missing boater, he said, and explained that some duck hunters had found a canoe and that my phone number had turned up among the gear in the boat. He wanted to know where it had come from — he hoped, in fact, that I might be the canoeist. It took me a second or two to realize that the boat must have been Dick Conant’s. It had come practically from Canada, I explained — from Plattsburgh, New York, 20 miles south of the border….

“I explained to Officer Beardsley that I was a journalist, and that I had written a short article (in this magazine) about Conant’s ambitious voyage [to Florida]….

“The canoe had been spotted floating upside down near the mouth of Big Flatty Creek, by a father who was fishing with his young boy and feared what they might discover if they drew their boat any closer. Big Flatty discharges into the not so flat brackish waters of Albemarle Sound, about 20 miles west of the Outer Banks….

“Among the canoe’s contents were 17 toothbrushes, three Louis L’Amour Western novels, a frying pan, a digital camera, and some soggy stapled papers, on the back of which I’d written my e-mail address and phone number, more than 400 miles up the coast….”

— From “The Wayfarer: A solitary canoeist meets his fate” by Ben McGrath in the New Yorker (Dec. 14)

 

Frank A. Abrams [a lawyer, author and inventor in Skyland, N.C.] believes that a 3¼-by-3-inch tintype he bought at Smiley’s Flea Market in Fletcher, N.C., in 2011 might depict both Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, the sheriff who killed the notorious outlaw in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881.

“Abrams said he believes the photo of five seated cowboys was taken Jan. 14, 1880, at the dual wedding of Pat Garrett to Apolinaria Gutierrez and Barney Mason to Juana Madril….

“ ‘If I’m right, this will be the only known picture of Billy the Kid with Pat Garrett,’ Abrams said last month in Albuquerque.

“Though Abrams says he’s not ‘advocating a position’ on the authenticity of the photo, he spent 10 days traveling to historic New Mexico sites linked to the Kid and Pat Garrett, and meeting with people familiar with the duo’s history. He said he’s now searching out ‘experts’ in photo recognition in hopes of proving his theory.

“A trio of renowned Old West historians, however, say Abrams has a daunting task ahead….”

— From “Are Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett in tintype?” by Charles D. Brunt in the Albuquerque Journal (Dec. 6)

Meanwhile, UNC Professor Philip Gura‘s eBay-purchased daguerreotype of a woman he believes to be Emily Dickinson remains mired in skepticism

 

Did you see this morning’s rave in the New York Times over the Tar Heels’ argyle-accented basketball and football uniforms? The Times noted that Dean Smith’s eye initially had been caught by Alexander Julian’s award-winning pin-striping of the NBA Charlotte Hornets in 1988. Not mentioned, however, was Julian’s less well received work for the minor-league Charlotte Knights.

Here’s what the Los Angeles Times reported in 1991:

“The Knights’ parent club, the Chicago Cubs, is about to junk its farm team’s Julian-designed black uniforms, described by one sportswriter as ‘Knightmarish’….

“Of the Cubs’ decision to change the Knights’ uniforms, Julian said: ‘I’m very disappointed. I did the best I could.’

“Of the sportswriter’s fashion review, he said: ‘I’m tracing the way this guy dresses. Let me just say this. It’s like having an illiterate criticize Hemingway.’ ”

 

On this day in 1960: On “The Andy Griffith Show” Sheriff Taylor ends a feud between two mountain families by arranging the marriage of their children. Andy tells Opie the Southern version of “Romeo and Juliet,” which had been on the flip side of his hit record, “What It Was Was Football.” This is the only episode to make use of material from Griffith’s repertoire as a standup comedian.

 

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