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“Through the ’50s and well into the ’60s, African-Americans bought the Green Book [The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide] and other guides. But just being on the highway could be a frightening experience.

“In the summer of 1960, Irene Staple’s parents drove her to Anniston, Ala., to give her a look at their roots and to teach her a lesson in present-day life in the Deep South.

” ‘By the time we got to Raleigh-Durham there was a tension in the air,’ Staples remembered. ‘By the time we got to Alabama I was hysterical.’

“Shell Oil had provided the family with detailed road maps and a list of all the Shell stations along the route. When the family returned to New York, Staple’s father returned his credit card to the company. Shell stations in the South had refused to serve him because he was black.”

— From Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life” by Tom Lewis (2013)

 

The Fayetteville Observer makes smart use of the oft-mocked listicle to lay out “Top 10 game changers in Fayetteville’s history” (June 20), from the town’s failed attempt to secure the state capital in 1788 to the still-disputatious “Big Bang” annexation of 2005.

Here’s Matt Leclercq’s entry on the birth of Fort Bragg:

“Fayetteville was a sleepy town post-Civil War, with a population hovering around 5,000. Then came a ‘dusty June day in 1918’ when two government men from Washington were scouting sites for an artillery range and camp. There were few maps, and few roads, historian Roy Parker Jr. wrote, and they traveled by compass and ‘dead-reckoning.’ On the fourth day of their drive, they came across a rise north of Fayetteville and saw undulating, pine-covered sand ridges, Parker recounts. The War Department soon established Camp Bragg, which would become one of the largest military bases in the world.”

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The Natural History of North Carolina, by John Brickell, 1743.

The Natural History of North Carolina, by John Brickell, 1743.

On January 30, 1919 the French Broad Hustler reported the shipment of “six head of buffalo –three males and three females –to Hominy, Buncombe County” by the American Bison Society. Their arrival in North Carolina marked the reintroduction of America’s largest big game animal to the state. The experiment was short-lived. Despite the birth of two calves and the addition of bred heifers and a bull, only two members of the herd remained a decade later. The reestablishment of bison into the wild in North Carolina was a failure.

Two centuries earlier, North Carolina was home to a robust number of bison. In 1709, English naturalist and explorer John Lawson described North Carolina as having “Plenty of Buffalos” in his A New Voyage to Carolina. A few decades later, Irish-born explorer John Brickell included an illustration of a “Buffello” in his Natural History of North Carolina. Brickell describes Native Americans’ many uses for the buffalo, including for food, bedding, clothing and housewares. Writing in 1748, German explorer and botanist Pehr Kalm noted, “The wild Oxen have their abode principally in the woods of Carolina, which are far up in the country. The inhabitants frequently hunt them, and salt their flesh like common beef, which is eaten by servants and the lower classes of people.”

Bison disappeared from North Carolina almost a century before they were wiped out in the American West. Joseph Rice, an early settler of the Swannanoa Valley around Bull Creek, is known for shooting that area’s last buffalo in 1799. A plaque at milepost 373 of the Blue Ridge Parkway marks the location.

Bull Creek Valley, Milepost 373 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Bull Creek Valley, Milepost 373 of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The second edition of the North Carolina Gazetteer includes more than 40 entries for places that bear witness to the once ubiquitous presence of buffalo in North Carolina. They include Buffalo (a community in Cherokee County), Buffalo Creek (a waterway in Ashe County, one of many in the state named after buffalo), Big Lick (a place so named in Stanly County for the salt that attracted deer and buffalo in droves), Buffalo Cove (a place in which many buffalo were killed), and Buffalo Ford (a buffalo crossing along the Deep River in Randolph County).

An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina With Their Indian Frontiers...

An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina With Their Indian Frontiers…

In May, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act, which designates the bison as the country’s national mammal. The next time you picture a wild buffalo, think of it here in North Carolina, grazing in the state’s woods and grasslands and drinking from its streams.

On this day in 1917: Gen. Leonard Wood visits Charlotte to inspect possible sites for a World War I training camp.
The result will be Camp Greene, built on 2,500 acres and named for Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene. The camp trains soldiers for less than two years, but rouses Charlotte’s economy and hastens its rise from small-town obscurity.

 

On this day in 1935: The first ABC store in North Carolina  opens in Wilson, with a line of customers waiting — so many that more than 100 had to be turned away at the 6 p.m. closing time.

— From “ABCs of N.C. liquor sales” by Ben Steelman, part of a fact-packed and entertaining Wilmington Star News project on “What We Drink in North Carolina.”

 

Celebrate with…

A picnic

Fourth of July Picnic - Given to Hospitality

Fourth of July Picnic from Given to hospitality : a cook book.

Some ice cream

Fourth of July Ice Cream-Our Own Kitchen Survival Kit

Fourth of July Ice Cream from Our own kitchen survival kit.

…don’t forget the toppings

Fourth of July Ice Cream Toppings-Our Own Kitchen Survival Kit

Ice Cream Toppings from Our own kitchen survival kit.

A former president

President Reagan's Favorite Macaroni and Cheese - Capitol Cook Books

President Reagan’s Favorite Macaroni and Cheese from Capitol cook book : with best wishes from Congressman James T. Broyhill.

Liver Deluxe (Ford) - Congressional Cook Book

Liver Deluxe from Congressional cook book.

The first First Lady

Martha Washington's-Out of Our League

Martha Washington’s from Out of our league.

 

“In teaching about inequality, protest, and social change, I’ve sometimes cited the Moral Mondays/Forward Together movement to offer an example, or to link general principles to local events.

“In doing so, I’ve found that, in a class of thirty or so students, only a few will know what I’m referring to, let alone who is protesting what. I am thus reminded that most of the time students spend on their smartphones is not devoted to following the news but to communicating with their equally detached peers….

“It would be a mistake to blame students for what they don’t know, to chide them for being absorbed in social media or celebrity trivia. Students are products of their culture, time, and place. As are we all. If college students today know more about the Kardashians than about politics and policy, it’s because of what they’ve been taught to mind and taught to ignore….”

“North Carolina, which came to be known as ‘Poor Carolina,’ went in a very different direction from its sibling to the south. It failed to shore up it elite planter class. Starting with Albemarle County, it became an imperial renegade territory, a swampy refuge for the poor and landless. Wedged between proud Virginians and upstart South Carolinians, North Carolina was that troublesome ‘sinke of America’ so many early commentators lamented. It was a frontier wasteland resistant (or so it seemed) to the forces of commerce and civilization. Populated by what many dismissed as ‘useless lubbers’ (conjuring the image of sleepy and oafish men lolling around doing nothing), North Carolina forged a lasting legacy as what we might call the first white trash colony. Despite being English, despite having claimed their rights of freeborn Britons, lazy lubbers of Poor Carolina stood out as a dangerous refuge of waste people, and the spawning ground of a degenerate breed of Americans.”

— From White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America” by Nancy Isenberg (2016)

The pejorative “sinke of America,” coined in 1681 by Virginia Gov. Thomas Culpeper, foreshadowed by 60 years William Byrd’s even more enthusiastically scornful “History of the Dividing Line.”

 

“Professors registered as Democrats outnumber those registered as Republicans by a ratio of roughly 12 to 1 at UNC Chapel Hill – and in 16 departments zero registered Republican professors can be found….

“The College Fix researched the party registrations of 1,355 Chapel Hill professors using the public voter database maintained by the State Board of Elections….

“Spokesman Jim Gregory said via email that the university ‘does not hire faculty based upon their political affiliation, but instead upon academic merit.

“ ‘That said, we also feel that it is important for students to be confronted with views that they may not agree with or have not previously been exposed to, which we believe leads to the development of critical thinking skills….

“ ‘Our primary effort is to ensure that our faculty, regardless of their backgrounds, are sensitive to and respectful of the various beliefs and viewpoints raised by each of their students,’ Gregory said, adding the university does attempt to ‘achieve a measure of diversity across all domains’ but described achieving a perfect balance as ‘extremely difficult.’ ”

— From “At UNC Chapel Hill, 16 departments have zero registered Republican professors, analysis finds” by Alec Dent at the College Fix (June 20)

 

“It’s one of the more glamorous stories of the Cape Fear coast: Confederate spy  Rose O’Neale Greenhow, widow of a minor Washington bureaucrat and a sometime diplomat, is riding a blockade runner back into Wilmington. Her ship runs aground and she drowns in the Atlantic — weighed down by treasure sewn in the linings of her gown.

” ‘I kind of hate to bust people’s bubbles,’ said Chris Fonvielle,  historian at the University of North Carolina Wilmington….”

— From “Romantic story of shipwrecked Confederate spy is true, mostly” by Ben Steelman in the Wilmington Star-News  (June 9)

 

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