Charlotte slow to warm to Rolling Stones

On this day in 1965: The Rolling Stones make their first appearance in Charlotte, drawing less than a half-full house at the original Coliseum (and failing to rate a review in the Observer).

Reports the Charlotte News: “What it was wasn’t music, but it was harmless. Promoter Jim Crockett had hired 40 policemen to hold back the mob, but there wasn’t any mob. [Mick] Jagger looks like a teenage miss who’s just washed her hair and can’t find her curlers. His straggly brown locks swishing around his shoulders, Jagger wrestles with the microphone, does some fancy strutting and spinning and sings.”

Pictured: Media pass for the Rolling Stones’ much better attended 1997 concert, the first in Charlotte’s new NFL stadium. The show sold out 54,436 tickets and grossed a reported $3,126,945.

Unfortunately for the Carolina Panthers, the stage set-up required resodding 25 yards at one end of the field. Heavy rains made the next game an embarrassing mudfest, including no fewer than nine fumbles.


‘Pearl was there’ for Kerouac (just not in Dunn)

“[Dean Moriarty — that is, Neal Cassady] and I suddenly saw the whole country like an oyster for us to open; and the pearl was there, the pearl was there. Off we roared south. We picked up another hitchhiker. This was a sad young kid who said he had an aunt who owned a grocery store in Dunn, North Carolina, right outside Fayetteville. ‘When we get there can you bum a buck off her? Right! Fine! Let’s go!’ We were in Dunn in an hour, at dusk. We drove to where the kid said his aunt had the grocery store. It was a sad little street that dead-ended at a factory wall. There was a grocery store but there was no aunt. We wondered what the kid was talking about. We asked him how far he was going; he didn’t know. It was a big hoax; once upon a time, in some lost back-alley adventure, he had seen the grocery store in Dunn, and it was the first story that popped into his disordered, feverish mind. We bought him a hot dog, but Dean said we couldn’t take him along because we needed room to sleep and room for hitchhikers who could buy a little gas. This was sad but true. We left him in Dunn at nightfall.”

— From “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac (1957)

Durham parade ousts Klan float in name of ‘harmony’

On this day in  1928: At the request of American Legion officials, Durham police remove a Ku Klux Klan float from line in the annual Armistice Day parade. The float bears the letters “KKK” and two white-draped figures representing “Purity” and “Honesty.”

“Since our post is composed of men of all classes and all religious faiths ” a Legion official tells the Durham Morning Herald, “participation by the Klan in our parade would throw the entire picture out of harmony.”


North Carolina City Directories Available Online

Over 200 city directories from 34 different cities and towns are now available to search and browse on DigitalNC:

Most of the directories in the digital collection are from the North Carolina Collection, with a few contributed by the Durham County Library and the Forsyth County Public Library. We are planning to add more directories over the next year.

City directories are fantastic resources for studying family and community history, with a surprisingly rich amount of information. Not only do they include names and addresses, most contain information about each person’s occupation, place of employment, and spouse. In many directories published in the early twentieth century, the race of the resident is also noted.

No wonder he misplaced Sir Walter

“In 1937, Postmaster General James Farley dedicated a new post office in Arlington, Virginia, and managed to place Sir Walter Raleigh in the wrong place at the wrong time and also to locate Roanoke Island in Virginia rather than North Carolina. These lapses received front-page coverage….

“While gently chiding Farley, a New York Times editorial explained that his errors were entirely understandable. ‘As we remember our school books,’ it observed, ‘everything from the vicinity of Florida up to Canada was ‘Virginia’ in the vague and spacious time of Elizabeth. Indeed, if Mr. Farley will look at a map of Virginia in those days, it will remind him tremendously of a map of the Roosevelt states last November.’ ”

— From “Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture” by Michael Kammen (1991)

Northampton County — now THAT’S south Philly

On this day in 1983: Wilson Goode, one of eight children of Northampton County sharecroppers, is elected the first black mayor of Philadelphia. His family moved from North Carolina to Philadelphia when he was 15.

The low point of Goode’s eight years in office will come in 1985, when police trying to evict the radical group MOVE from its rowhouse headquarters drop a bomb on the roof. The resulting fire kills 11 people, including five children, and destroys more than 60 houses.

Pictured: Pinback from 1983. The slogan “Still Goode for Philadelphia” was seen in later campaigns.

Fertility was key to value of enslaved women

“In 1737, an observer in North Carolina suggested that planters were quite mindful of enslaved women’s reproductive value, writing that ‘a numberous  Issue [is] esteemed the greatest Riches in this country.’ He went on to suggest that slaveowners interfered in the lives of enslaved couples by obliging women to take a ‘second, third, fourth, fifth and more Husbands or Bedfellows’ if children did not appear after ‘a year or two.’ …

“Fertility here, as elsewhere, was perceived to be located in the body of the fruitful or fruitless woman, whose multiple husbands bore no reproductive responsibility. Thus, it was enslaved women who bore the burden and pain of slaveowners’ clumsy manipulations and scrutiny.”

— From “Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery” by Jennifer L. Morgan (2004)

Bob Anthony on North Carolina People Tonight

Tonight on UNC-TV, North Carolina Collection Curator Bob Anthony will be featured on the long-running “North Carolina People” program. Bob will sit down with host William Friday to discuss the North Carolina Collection and North Carolina history. The program airs tonight (November 4) at 9:00 p.m. and will run again on Sunday, November 6, at 5:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of the University Gazette, October 27, 2010.

Why Egbert R. Murrow never delivered the news

“Back in his home state of North Carolina to speak on foreign policy, TV Newsman Edward R. Murrow was button holed in Charlotte by a reporter: When and why had Murrow changed his name from Egbert to Edward?

“Caught squarely, ex-Logger Murrow grinned and replied: ‘I did that when I was 13 or 14 years old and firing a donkey engine in timber territory. I thought Egbert was hardly the name for the job.’ ”

— From Time magazine, January 30, 1956
According to, the donkey engine, a single-cylinder steam engine invented in 1881, revolutionized the logging industry by pulling loads that had previously required ox teams.