Tag Archives: Raleigh

Historical marker to be placed in Raleigh today to remember a dark chapter in NC history

Image of Eugenics Board historical marker

Image of Eugenics Board historical marker

The Raleigh News & Observer reported yesterday that, “State officials are dedicating a historical marker to remember the forced sterilization program that affected thousands of people in North Carolina.” The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker contains a historical description of the North Carolina eugenics program that lasted from 1929 into the 1970s. About 7,600 people were sterilized in North Carolina during this period.

Recently, a state House panel approved a measure that would give $20,000 each to surviving victims of the eugenics program.  However, due to the state’s budget shortfalls of late, it is unclear if the state will have the $18.6 million dollars needed to enact the measure next year.

The historical marker will be dedicated today (Monday, June 22, at 5pm) at the N.C. Community Colleges building at 200 W. Jones Street in Raleigh. The ceremony will be attended by state leaders and several living victims of the program.

[Note: This difficult period in our state's history is also the subject of a new digital project by the State Library of North Carolina.  The project features digitized material from the North Carolina Eugenics Board/Commission.]

Early interracial conferences, Part II

Southern Conference for Human Welfare

"Findings of the Negro-White Conference Held at Shaw University," #4107 Olive M. Stone papers, folder 6

Negro-White Conference, Shaw University, Raleigh, N.C.
30 November – 2 December, 1934
Pictured here are the findings of another month-long interracial conference attended by Olive M. Stone, which historian Glenda Gilmore has called “the first southern interracial conference that dared endorse integration” (Defying Dixie, p. 221). The conference also challenged the approaches taken by several of the major civil rights organizations of the time, as is shown in the following excerpt:

“The conference agrees that the criteria of interracial work should be 1) to work for complete social, political, and economic equality of the races, and 2) to work for the organization of the masses of both races for goals that have to do with their common status.
Existing organizations such as the NAACP, the National Urban League, and the Commission on Interracial Cooperation etc., have been examined in the light of these criteria, and it was felt that they should change their character and structure to conform to them, if they are to work effectively for the solutions of the problems involved.”

Finding Aid for the Olive M. Stone Papers (#4107)

Related posts: Early interracial conferences, Part I

Nell Battle Lewis scrapbook

Page from Nell Battle Lewis scrapbook

Page from Nell Battle Lewis scrapbook

As we’ve stated before, one of our major goals in publishing this blog is to bring to the forefront smaller collections, lesser known items, and interesting gems embedded within larger collections of manuscript materials here in the Southern Historical Collection.

An example of the “embedded gem” variety has just reemerged and been called to our attention. It’s a wonderful scrapbook that was kept by a woman named Nell Battle Lewis. The scrapbook is embedded within the Kemp Plummer Lewis Papers, Collection #3819 (Nell’s brother’s papers).

Nell Cornelia Battle Lewis (1893-1956) was a journalist, feminist, lawyer, educator and a strident human rights advocate in Raleigh, N.C., in the early twentieth century.

In 1918, Nell Battle Lewis, joined the YWCA’s canteen service with the American Expeditionary Force in France. Her scrapbook from this year in Nice, France, contains Nell Battle Lewis’s passport, the Nice area “leave rules” for women, ration cards, portions of love letters and pictures from servicemen whom she met during service, photographs and post cards of Nice, and a fragment of a flag.