‘Financing extremists?’ History need not doubt

“WASHINGTON — The State Department identified a wealthy Saudi businessman Wednesday as ‘one of the most significant financial sponsors’ worldwide of extremist Islamic activities.

“Osama Bin Ladin, son of a Saudi construction magnate, has been indirectly linked to terrorist activities against Americans and U.S. facilities, including the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993….

“He also is said to have funneled money to Egyptian extremists and financed at least three terrorist training camps in northern Sudan…. ”

— From a wire-service roundup in the Durham Herald-Sun, Aug. 15, 1996

If not the first mention of bin Laden in a North Carolina newspaper (Nexis does have its limits), this item seems to have been among the first.

Headline: “Businessman financing extremists?”

Miss North Carolina 1933: First but forgotten?

As Jack noted in his comments on Margaret “Mug” Richardson, the archives yield scant information on early Miss North Carolinas.

According to contemporary news accounts, the first Miss North Carolina was crowned at Wrightsville Beach in 1933, and later she is pictured in a lineup of contestants in Atlantic City. But Leola Councilman of Sanford is inexplicably ignored in both Miss North Carolina and Miss America pageant histories.

I had hoped this badge and photo from the collection could be traced to an appearance by Miss Councilman at the 1933 national convention of the American Legion, held in conjunction with the Century of Progress world’s fair. Alas, no, says Donna Hay of Encino, Calif., who has done remarkably detailed research on the often chaotic 1933 competition. The Chicago exposition rolled out “lots of state beauty queens throughout its year of operation [that] had nothing to do with the Miss America pageant.”

So who is that off-brand Miss North Carolina riding regally past the crowds along Chicago’s waterfront? Her name is remembered even less than Leola Councilman’s.

For a lovingly amused look at North Carolina’s state pageant culture, see Frank Deford’s “There She Is: The Life and Times of Miss America” (1971).