‘We loved your husband….he did not make us as dogs’

“Dear Mrs Kennedy, You & your family have our sorrow of the death of your husband, not only because he tried to help us as Negro but all so he was human. We feel that Oswald did not do it – it was someone larger than he. We loved your husband because he thought Negroes was Gods love and made us like he did white people and did not make us as dogs. Mrs. Kennedy we are praying for you and your family.”

– From a letter to Jackie Kennedy from Mrs. Frank Borders of Shelby, quoted in ” ‘Letters to Jackie’ shows ordinary people’s grief over Kennedy’s assassination” in the Washington Post (Sept. 14, 2013)

The documentary “Letters to Jackie” opens Tuesday in some U.S. theaters.


A ‘wide and pitiful difference’ during Reconstruction

“I often had occasion to notice [in the Carolinas and Georgia] the wide and pitiful difference between the residents of the cities and large towns and the residents of the country. There is everywhere a rigid spirit of caste….

“Thus, Charleston has much intelligence, and considerable genuine culture; but go 20 miles away, and you are in the land of the barbarians. So, Raleigh is a city in which there is love of beauty, and interest in education; but the common people of the county are at least 40 years behind the same class of people in Vermont.”

— From “Three Months Among the Reconstructionists” by Sidney Andrews in The Atlantic (February 1866)

Andrews, a prolific correspondent for Northern journals, spent September, October and November 1865, traveling North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia by stage and railway.  After having  “had much conversation with many individuals of nearly all classes,” he came away repulsed by the region’s present and future. Here’s how he viewed  “the native North Carolinian.”


Recipes from the collection for the football fan.

Football season is upon us!  Tomorrow is the first home game for the Tar Heels.  Tailgaters will descend upon UNC and pepper the parking lots with their tents, grills, and coolers.  If you are in need of some tailgating goodies for your Saturday, try out a few of these.  Go Heels!

Charlie Choo Choo Justice's Pork Chops-Redskins Style-Tarheels Cooking for Ronald's Kids

Pork Chops – Redskins Style from Tarheels cooking for Ronald’s kids.

Tailgate Coleslaw - The Cat Who...Cookbook

Tailgate Coleslaw from The cat who– cookbook.

finger rolls with chicken salad - Carolina Cooking

Finger Rolls with Chicken Salad from Carolina cooking

Jet Age Reuben-Rush Hour Superchef!

Jet Age Reuben from Rush hour superchef! : with step-by-step menus.

Spicy Curry Dip-The Pantry Shelf

Spicy Curry Dip from The Pantry shelf : 1907-1982.

Swiss Mix Sandwich Filling - Company's Coming

Swiss Mix Sandwich Filling from Company’s coming : a recipe collection from North Carolinians who enjoy company coming.

Pungent Chicken Wings - Best of the Best

Pungent Chicken Wings from Best of the best from North Carolina : selected recipes from North Carolina’s favorite cookbooks.

Once upon a time, there was a N.C. legislature that….

“In certain Southern places, the economic crisis of the 1890s drove Populists and Republicans into each other’s arms…. Fragile biracial coalitions elected ‘fusion’ tickets in Alabama, Georgia, Texas and — most successfully — in North Carolina….

“Between 1894 and 1898, the fusionist legislature required ‘The School History of the Negro Race in the United States’ to be taught in North Carolina public schools; it also raised money for education and poor relief by increasing taxes on railroads and other corporations….”

— From “Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920” by Jackson Lears (2009)


‘Never mind — if it was bad, Sherman did it!’

“According to William Surface of the Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville, North Carolina, ‘It became a badge of honor for some Southerners to have an ancestor whose house was burned by Sherman’s troops.’

“Betty McCain, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, exemplified this mindset while testifying [in 1994] before the North Carolina Historical Commission in opposition to a proposed memorial to Sherman’s troops at Bentonville Battleground.

“She declared that her foremother fought off Sherman’s men with a broom three different times, when they tried to burn down her house near Wilmington. With no McCain ancestors to stop them, Sherman’s men did burn the warehouses in Wilmington, McCain claimed, as part of their swath of destruction across the state.

“Apparently McCain did not know that Confederates set the Wilmington warehouses ablaze before pulling out of the town, to deny materiel to the Union. Nor did she know that Sherman’s men never came within a hundred miles of Wilmington! Never mind — if it happened in North Carolina and was bad, Sherman did it !”

— From “Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong” by James W. Loewen (2007)


All alone in the crowd at a Charlotte bookstore

“I was supposed to appear at a bookstore in Charlotte, North Carolina, which is a conservative Bible-belt town. My publisher [of “A Fortunate Age”] said, ‘There’s no point in going [from New York City] to Charlotte, it’s going to be a complete waste of time, nobody buys literary fiction in Charlotte, the only thing that sells is Christian fiction.’ But we have a good friend whose mom said, ‘You should definitely do it, it’s such a great bookstore, all these people are going to come.’

“So we put our kids in the car, raced to get there, and I was frazzled, and basically no one came. They said that it would be a reading, but it wasn’t. They just wanted me to sign books. But nobody’s heard of me! Book signings are for famous people….

“The thing that made it particularly brutal was that my friend’s mom came with two very sweet Southern ladies from her book club, and they just sat at the table where I was supposed to be signing books. The bookstore was crowded. And people kept looking at me, trying to figure out what was going on. They looked like they wanted to approach me. But there were these chattering ladies sitting there. And passers-by probably thought I was just some person who was camped out with my friends.”

— From an interview with novelist and memoirist Joanna Smith Rakoff at canteenmag.com (Feb. 16, 2012)