Apartheid amendment fails to catch on

On this day in 1915: The N.C. Senate rejects Clarence Poe’s plan for a “Great Rural Civilization.”

Fearing that the migration of young people into the already crowded cities was undermining society, Poe — the influential editor of the Progressive Farmer — drafted a plan that strangely foreshadowed Floyd McKissick’s ill-fated Soul City experiment of the 1970s.

While visiting the British Isles in 1912, Poe had interviewed a white South African, who persuaded him that apartheid offered whites the best opportunity to help blacks.

Framed as an amendment to the state constitution, Poe’s plan empowered voters in a rural district to prohibit land sales to persons of the minority race. Although this provision would not force anyone to leave, Poe believed that ultimately the countryside would be dotted with quiet, pastoral villages, either all-white or all-black.

Although Poe enlisted such influential allies as Josiah Bailey, later a U.S. senator, and Julian Carr, the Bull Durham magnate, his plan stirred hornets’ nests of protest across the South.

After the 1915 General Assembly, more concerned with the World War raging in Europe, votes down the proposed amendment, the “Great Rural Civilization” will not be heard of again.

Friday Afternoon Riddle, But No Arrow

I found the above riddle while perusing the stacks yesterday. Who wants to take a guess? The riddle was supposedly “[s]hot on the point of an arrow, from General Washington’s army into Cornwallis’s tent, the night before [a] decisive battle.”

Image from: As great a man as Nelson! … : the life of the most noble the Marquis Cornwallis, that great man to his country! : who has been engaged in the service of it ever since the year 1776, up to 1805, in the American and Indian war … to which is added, the riddle shot from the camp, with an explanation. London : Printed by Ann Kemmish … for, and sold by J. Ker … also sold by T. Hughes … N. & J. Muggeridge … Wilmott and Hill … Kemmish … Barfoot … Perks … S. Elliot … A. Neil … Dixon … T. Evans … &c &c., [1806]. VCC970.3 C82L

NY Times finds North Carolina a truffling place

Hat tip to New York Times reporter and author Kim Severson for snatching from beneath the very noses of North Carolina’s MSM — not to mention its free-range bloggers and tweeters — this lively front page account of the spittin’ and litigatin’ match between rival truffle promoters Susan Rice Alexander of Southern Pines and Franklin Garland of Hillsborough.

Severson is the latest in a long line of Times reporters working out of Atlanta, including such stalwarts as future N&O editor Claude Sitton (who started the bureau in 1958), Roy Reed, B. Drummond Ayres Jr. and Peter Applebome.

Today’s “A tasty fungus…” followed Tuesday’s less appetizing “Edwards lies low….”

Wilson Library Reading Room Changes and Closures

UNC’s Wilson Special Collections Library is undergoing changes that will affect the rooms in which material from the various collections are used and procedures for accessing the items. See below for more details.

Friday, March 4th, 2011: The 4th floor Reading Room (formerly where Southern Folklife Collection, Southern Historical Collection, and University Archives items were accessed) will close permanently as a Special Collections reading room; it will be opened again on Monday, March 14th, 2011 as a Special Collections classroom.

Saturday and Sunday, March 5th-6th, 2011
Monday, March 7th, 2011, through Thursday, March 10th, 2011
Saturday and Sunday, March 12th-13th, 2011:
All researchers will use the 2nd floor Special Collections Reading Room for access to materials in the North Carolina Collection, Rare Book Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, Southern Historical Collection, and University Archives.

Friday, March 11th, 2011: The Special Collections Reading Room will be closed for the day and there will be no access to Special Collections materials for this one day only.

Changes in Special Collections (2nd floor) Reading Room Policies:
As part of our efforts to provide more effective, centralized reference and research services for faculty, students, and other visitors seeking to use UNC Chapel Hill’s rich special collections and digital resources, we have implemented the following policies for the use of the Special Collections Reading Room:

• Access to the 2nd floor Reading Room will be limited to those seeking reference assistance with or using material from UNC Chapel Hill’s special collections and digital resources.
• The Grand Reading Room on the 3rd floor will continue to be available during the academic term for those seeking a quiet place to study.
• All visitors to the Reading Room must fill out a one-time registration form and present valid photo identification.
• Laptops, silenced cell phones, and digital cameras may be brought into the Reading Room; all other personal items, including cases for the above, must be secured in a locker at the Reading Room entrance.
• Paper and pencils are provided in the Reading Room for note taking if needed.
• Other personal research materials may be brought in, if relevant to the work you are doing in the Reading Room, pending consultation with a staff member.
• Circulating North Carolina Collection books and pamphlets may be borrowed by those with valid UNC Chapel Hill borrowing privileges at the service counter without registering and entering the Reading Room area.
• Paging slips are required to access all special collections materials except the reference items housed in the Reading Room.
• The closely monitored area at the far end of the Reading Room is reserved for the use of collection materials requiring staff supervision.

Access to all collections and staff will not be affected during this transition. Please ask any Special Collections staff member if you have questions or concerns, or e-mail Bill Landis, Head of Special Collections Research & Instructional Services, at blandis@unc.edu.

Felis concolor: from endangered to extinct

The panther
John James Audubon: Felis Concolor -- Linn: The Cougar. -- Panther

“It is clear why the panther, or ‘painter’ as he was sometimes called, attracted so much unfavorable attention. The Moravians, in recording the wildlife around them in the Piedmont in 1764, described the panther as being ‘the color of a Deer, and is of about the same size, not counting feet. It has large claws, with which it climbs trees, and head like a cat. It is a cruel beast, eating only fresh meat, will not eat carrion, nor what has been dead only a short time. But they are not numerous, and so soon as one is seen it is killed.’ This was, indeed, a strange animal in the eyes of Europeans. From his home at Brunswick in the early spring of 1767, Governor William Tryon wrote the Earl of Shelburne:”

‘As the Panther of this continent I am told has never been imported into Europe, and as it is the King of the American forests, I presume to send a male panther under your Lordships patronage to be presented for his Majesty’s acceptance. He is six months old; I have had him four months, by constantly handling he is become perfectly tame and familiar: When full grown his coat will much resemble that of the lioness. Panthers have been killed (for it is very uncommon to catch them alive) ten feet in length from the nose to the end of the tail. I am very solicitous for his safe arrival, as I am ambitious that he may be permitted to add to his Majesty’s collection of wild beasts.’

“Tryon’s gift from the forests of North Carolina was accepted and became a part of King George’s menagerie at Kew.”

-From William S. Powell’s “Creatures of Carolina from Roanoke Island to Purgatory Mountain,” North Carolina Historical Review, April 1973. Although North Carolina wildlife officials have long considered the panther, a.k.a. the Eastern Cougar or Felis Concolor, extinct in our state, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) did not declare the animal extinct from the eastern United States until yesterday. FWS officials say those who report sightings are likely seeing bears, dogs, the Florida panther, or, perhaps, the Western cougar, which is headed this way.

Wikipedia wrestles with the case of Eve Carson

If Bismarck (or whoever) were alive today, he might liken sausage not to laws but to Wikipedia entries.

“Murder of Eve Carson” ranks 63rd on this list of Wikipedia’s most contentious Article for Deletion (AfD) discussion threads.

Why such a fuss? Sample comments:

— “Wikipedia is not a memorial. Prior to her tragic death, the only aspect that stands out about her is that she served as student body president.”

— “There is no reason to delete this article. Wikipedia is the people’s encyclopedia, and if the people are interested in reading biographical information about a person in the news, then they should be able to.”

— “I could easily argue that Natalee Holloway is no more notable than Eve Carson…. No one outside her circle ever heard of her until her disappearance. So why does she merit her own article? Only one reason: Intense media coverage.”

Library science in the 21st century?

For freed POWs, ‘the happiest day of their lives’

On this day in 1865: Prisoner of war A.O. Abbott, first lieutenant in the 1st N.Y. Dragoons, recalls his release in Wilmington:

“We laughed, cried, hurrahed, hugged, kissed, rolled in the sand, and — rejoiced generally. Many declared it was the happiest day of their lives.

“The 6th Connecticut was encamped on the bank of the
[Cape Fear] river, and at the end of the pontoon bridge they had erected a bower of evergreens. In the centre of the arch was a card, surrounded by a beautiful wreath of evergreens, on which was printed, WELCOME, BROTHERS.”

Who remembers Mattie Grady’s?

“For many [in the ‘other South’] the past isn’t even past. In Warsaw, North Carolina, people giving directions for a back road route to Goldsboro commonly included the instruction to ‘turn left at Mattie Grady’s store.’  This store had been closed for years, and while the building was still standing, it took a close inspection to make out the faint outline of Mattie Grady’s name. To someone born and raised in Warsaw, it would always be Mattie Grady’s store, even when the store fell down.

“But…  the growing number of people who have never farmed, the big city drug problem, the fleeing young people and the ubiquitous television culture do not bode well for such time capsules….”

– From “Southern Culture: An Introduction” by John Beck, Wendy Jean Frandsen and Aaron Randall (2009)