Segregationist cause welcomed ‘unreconstructed’ Ervin

“Weeks after the Brown [vs. Board of Education decision in 1954], the press hailed the latest poster boy for the ‘soft Southern approach’…. Samuel J. Ervin, a Harvard-educated state Supreme Court justice, arrived in Washington ready to lend his legal expertise and ‘country lawyer’  charm to the segregationist cause.

“Governor William Umstead tapped Ervin to complete the term of Clyde Hoey, who died in his office…. Ervin privately boasted that he was as ‘unrepentant and unreconstructed’ as Hoey, a Confederate captain’s son….

“Leaders of the Southern opposition saw in Ervin a fresh face that could elevate the segregationist defense above the white supremacist rhetoric of their fathers’ generation.”

— From “Defending White Democracy: The Making of a Segregationist Movement and the Remaking of Racial Politics, 1936-1965” by Jason Morgan Ward (2011)


‘It blends the styles of Texas and North Carolina….’

“The carvers splash the pulled pork with the house barbecue sauce, which balances sugar with vinegar and mustard; [restaurant owner Hugh]  Mangum calls it Texalina because it blends the styles of Texas and North Carolina….”

– From “Big League BBQ Arrives,” restaurant review by Pete Wells in the New York Times (March 5)

Not unexpectedly, Wells’ paean to East Village barbecue has stirred a stampede of online naysayers, including “Matthew from North Carolina,” who asks, “Lemme guess, $25 for a chopped plate with slaw and potato salad?”

Can “Texalina”-style barbecue sauce be for real? Or is it a culinary cousin of the jackalope? Paging John Shelton Reed!


For 2,000 freed slaves, only disease and death awaited

“When the military abandoned the freedpeople in the final months of the war at a Union camp in North Carolina, sickness and disease escalated; the military left no personnel or medical assistance for unemployed former slaves. According to the chief surgeon in North Carolina, General Sherman sent about 10,000 freedpeople ‘down the Cape Fear River to Wilmington’ and established a camp for them at Fort Anderson on Cape Fear. However, sickness plagued this camp. The several doctors present could not prevent the rampant spread of disease….

“An estimated 2,000 freedpeople died at Fort Anderson between March 17 and May 31, 1865 — an average of 30 ex-slaves a day….

“Who counted the dead? Was it the shocking discovery of their bodies or the questions of where they would be buried that led to this estimate? Since there was not, as the [camp’s] chief surgeon asserted, a hospital to care for them or even a mechanism to report on their sickness, there likely was no infrastructure in place to bury them. Why would here be? Their migration to Cape Fear resulted only from Sherman’s order, not from any formal plan for the emancipation of 4 million people.”

— From “Sick From Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction” by Jim Downs (2012)


Celebrate National Pound Cake Day…recipes from the collection.

National Pound Cake Day is Monday, March 4.  If you don’t have a favorite pound cake recipe, maybe one of these will suit your fancy.

Southern Pound Cake - Sweet Carolina

Southern Pound Cake from Sweet Carolina : favorite desserts and candies from the Old North State.

Burnt Sugar Pound Cake-Dixie Classie Fair

Burnt Sugar Pound Cake from Dixie Classic Fair for Northwest North Carolina : favorite recipes from friends of the Fair.

Caramel Nut Pound Cake - Peace Cookbook

Caramel Nut Pound Cake from Peace cookbook.

USE 7-Up Pound Cake - Dixie Classic Fair

7-Up Pound Cake from Dixie Classic Fair for Northwest North Carolina : favorite recipes from friends of the Fair.

Rum pound cake - The Charlotte Cookbook

Rum Pound Cake from The Charlotte cookbook.

Butterscotch Pound Cake-Favorite Recipies Blowing Rock

Butterscotch Pound Cake from Favorite recipes : Blowing Rock.

pecan and coconut pound cake - What's Cook'n at Biltmore

Pecan and Coconut Pound Cake from What’s cook’n at Biltmore.

Pineapple Pound Cake - Pass the Plate

Pineapple Pound Cake from Pass the plate : the collection from Christ Church.

Literary pantheon: One Wolfe out, one Wolfe in?

“I am old enough to remember when Thomas Wolfe seemed secure in the pantheon of 20th-century American writers, the equal, nearly, of Faulkner and Fitzgerald and Hemingway. He is gone from the pantheon today, and I doubt that Tom Wolfe gets asked about his kinship to Thomas Wolfe anymore.

“The obscurity of Thomas is an odd but impressive testament to the magnitude of Tom’s fame and, more important, the vastness of his literary achievement over a career spanning a half-century.”

— From “The Right Wolfe” by Andrew Ferguson in Commentary (November 2012) 

  Tom told George Plimpton he ignores Thomas’s “fluctuations on the literary stock market.”