Senator saw federal money as precursor to emancipation

“Slavery became the lens through which Southerners looked at every question, the red dye that tainted every American conflict….

“North Carolina senator Nathaniel Macon suspected, as early as 1818, that ‘the passage of a bill granting money for internal improvements’ would also make ‘possible a bill for the emancipation of the negroes,’ and he ‘desired to put North Carolinians on their guard, and not simply North Carolinians, but all Southerners.'”

— From “Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War & Reconstruction” by Allen C. Guelzo (2012)


Halloween recipes from the collection.

“Trick or Treat Salad” from High Hampton Hospitality.

“Halloween Cookies” from A Taste of the Old and the New.

“Monster Cookies” from Red’s Cook Book: (Road Kill not Included).

“Angel Balls”

“Red Devil’s Food Cake” from Classic Cookbook.

“Black Magic Chocolate Cake” from Favorite Recipes.

“Baked Devil’s Float” from Carolina Cooking.

Have some more ribs, Weather Channel guys

” ‘These Weather Channel guys are treated like frigging royalty,’ I was told by a satellite-truck operator [working on Hurricane Floyd in 1999]. ‘Usually, local people treat the media like scum — vultures preying on a disaster. But local people love these Weather Channel guys.

” ‘When we were in North Carolina for Dennis ‘ — the hurricane that had threatened the East Coast a week earlier — ‘people were coming to the truck with plates of ribs, cold drinks, pie, you name it. It was amazing.’ ”

— From “Flash of Genius: And Other True Stories of Invention” by John Seabrook (2008)


The sex lives of conjoined North Carolinians

“Typically, people who are close to conjoined twins come to adjust and see them as different but normal; they seem fairly untroubled by the idea of conjoined twins pursuing sex and romance. But those who are watching from afar cannot abide.

“The best example would probably be the story of Chang and Eng Bunker….  One April day in 1843, Chang married Adelaide Yates, while brother Eng married sister Sallie Yates. Based on the fact that Chang and Adelaide had 10 children, and Eng and Sallie 12, it’s fair to say the brothers had sex.

“At the autopsy of the Bunker twins, one of the anatomists opined that their active sex lives ‘shocked the moral sense of the community’ — even though the truth is that the Bunkers’ neighbors appeared to have just accepted the situation. A little known fact is that the Bunker wives’ father originally objected to his daughters marrying the twins not because they were conjoined, but because they were Asian. (This was, after all, the antebellum American South.)

“Yet in the 19th century, when doctors discussed whether the twins Millie and Christina McCoy could marry, one spoke for many: ‘Physically there are no serious objections … but morally there was a most decided one.’ When, in the 1930s, Violet Hilton sought to get a marriage license while conjoined to her sister Daisy, she was repeatedly refused.”

— From “The Sex Lives of Conjoined Twins” by Alice Dreger in The Atlantic

Yes, the Bunkers, the McCoys and the Hiltons all were either born or died in the Siamese Twin Capital of the World.


Chocolate recipes from the collection to celebrate National Chocolate Day.

This Saturday, October 28 is National Chocolate day so grab some cocoa powder, a chocolate bar, and your favorite chocolate recipe and get to celebrating.

“Killer Brownies”

“Sweet Chocolate Double-Deck Brownies” from Red’s Cook Book: (Road Kill Not Included).

“Chocolate Suicide Cake”

“Chocolate Gravy” from Welkom: Terra Ceia Cookbook III, a Collection of Recipes.

“Chocolate Sundae Pie” from Favorite Recipes of the Lower Cape Fear.

“Chocolate Brownie Fudge Cake” from What’s cook’n at Biltmore.

“Chocolate Delight Dessert” from The Charlotte Cookbook.

“Choco-Maple Marvel” from Home Cookin’.

Hoey stood in for McCarthy in investigating gays

“Despite much speculation, no one really knows why longtime bachelor Senator [Joe] McCarthy was significantly uninterested in the problem of homosexuals in the United States government, but the task was left to North Carolina Democratic senator Clyde Hoey and Nebraska Republican senator Kenneth Wherry….

“Senator Hoey’s investigations produced the ‘finding’ that homosexuals threatened national security. A scant seven years later, a Navy Department report concluded that the Hoey report was, well, hooey, but after 1950 the homosexual security threat was a legislative fact. In April 1953, President Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450 barring ‘sexual perverts’ from federal employment.”

— From “Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution” by Linda Hirshman (2012)


The story behind the children’s book Tobe

Page 2 of children's book Tobe

Benjamin Filene’s curiosity about a children’s book in the North Carolina Collection led him in search of the story behind its creation and the individuals portrayed in it. And this weekend Filene, an historian at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, will share his discoveries during a presentation at the Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough.

The 121-page book,Tobe, was written by Stella Gentry Sharpe and published by the University of North Carolina Press in 1939. According to Filene, Sharpe, a longtime teacher in the Hillsborough schools who lived with her husband on a farm just north of Chapel Hill, wrote the book in response to a question from an African-American boy who lived near her. The boy, Clay McCauley Jr., wanted to know why there were no children’s books with boys that looked like him. Sharpe set out to prove McCauley wrong.

In crafting her story of a young African-American farm boy and his family, Sharpe consulted noted UNC sociologist Guy Johnson and Marion Rex Trabue, a former head of the School of Education at UNC. While the name of her main character, Tobe, was made up, other names in the book are those of McCauley’s siblings–Raeford, Rufus and twin boys Alvis and Alton.

The photographs that accompanied Sharpe’s stories were taken by Charles Farrell, the first professional photographer for the Greensboro Daily News. When Farrell was ready to shoot photographs for Sharpe’s book, the McCauley children had grown too old to serve as subjects. Instead, Farrell turned to children and adults in Goshen, an African-American township south of Greensboro. Tobe was portrayed by Charles Garner, who was known to family and friend as “Windy.” Garner, now 81 and living in Georgia, was seven-years-old when he posed for Farrell. Garner’s siblings, parents and cousin’s family were enlisted to portray other characters in Tobe.

Now Filene is trying to find out more about the McCauley family. He has spoken with Charles McCauley Jr’s niece, who was a child when the book was published. But Filene is hoping others can add to the story of Tobe. Meanwhile, the book lives on. In 1993, it was republished by a small press specializing in multi-cultural literature.

An online literary map of North Carolina

Screenshot of North Carolina Literary Map

Congratulations to our library colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, who are re-launching their website the North Carolina Literary Map today. The site includes 2,583 North Carolina authors and 4,808 titles set in real or fictional locations in North Carolina. The site’s creators note that their selection process was broad and inclusive. They write:

The criteria focuses on works written about North Carolina and authors who were born in North Carolina, who currently live or have lived in North Carolina, who have written about North Carolina, or who have made a significant contribution to the North Carolina’s literary landscape. The author must have at least one publication cataloged by the Library of Congress.

Wonder how many works are about or have been set in Northampton County? The answer is now at hand.

You can be a part of today’s launch festivities by joining the site’s creators for a webinar at 3:30.

N.C. talks slow? What do eee-uuuwww think?

“Last week, I spent two months in North Carolina. I was in a courtroom, listening to the testimony of locals. Locals speak slowly.

“I know North Carolina is not the Deep South, and yet somehow its cadences are slower than in places such as Mississippi, where the syrup is thicker but seems to squeeze out more rapidly, like a blaat from a ketchup dispenser. In North Carolina, words and phrases ooze, like sap. The pace of discourse is glacial. The word ‘you’ is two and a half syllables, pronounced ‘eee-uuuwww.’ ”

— From Gene Weingarten’s column in the Washington Post

Among the 106 (at last count) online responses: “Ever few yars we enlist Gene to come down and write a dismissive and derisive column about N.C. To keep you carpetbaggers away. Thanks again, Gene. The check’s in the mail.”


A peek inside Lenoir’s ‘beating heart of digital age’

“If you’re looking for the beating heart of the digital age — a physical location where the scope, grandeur, and geekiness of the kingdom of bits become manifest — you could do a lot worse than Lenoir, North Carolina….

“Here I am, in a huge white building in Lenoir, standing near a reinforced door with a party of Googlers, ready to become that rarest of species: an outsider who has been inside one of the company’s data centers and seen the legendary server floor….

“[Afterward] I feel almost levitated by my peek inside Google’s inner sanctum. But a few weeks later, back at the Googleplex in Mountain View, I realize that my epiphanies have limited shelf life. Google’s intention is to render the data center I visited obsolete.”

— From “Google Throws Open Doors to Its Top-Secret Data Center” by Steven Levy in Wired (October 17) 

For the rest of us there’s a just-released virtual tour of the Lenoir facility, including its NASCAR-themed office decor.