On this day in 1958: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., not yet 30 years old but already famous for having led the Montgomery bus boycott, pays his first visit to Greensboro.
The local NAACP has invited King, but only black Bennett College will provide him a hall. He addresses two overflow crowds — morning and night — at Pfeiffer Chapel. “We are breaking loose from the Egypt of segregation and moving into the promised land of integration . . . .” he says. “There are giants in the way, but it can be done.”
Five years later he will return to Greensboro for a ceremony honoring the students who ignited the sit-in movement at the Woolworth’s lunch counter.
On this day in 1950: Charlotte hires the state’s first meter maids. Dubbed the “Skirt Squad” or “Petticoat Patrol,” their only duty is to issue parking citations. It will be 1967 before the city hires its first women as sworn police officers.
Wonder how many other entries in the Southern Historical Collection catalog include the notation “unpublished photographs…. including a Playboy centerfold”….
Alice Denham was a 1949 UNC graduate, but Chapel Hill seems not to have provided her most vivid memories.
From her 2006 memoir, “Sleeping with Bad Boys: A 1956 Playboy Model’s Escapades with James Dean, Hugh Hefner, Norman Mailer and the famous writers of the 1950’s beat generation”:
“For my senior year, I cut my hair, worked three campus jobs, refused to go out with Beau, switched my major to English, drove to the woods with Beau every Sunday noon when I couldn’t hold out any longer, retaught myself to type in a week, made Phi Beta Kappa, got a scholarship to graduate school at University of Rochester and decided to be a writer if it killed me.”
“In Davidson County, North Carolina, a drunken young mountaineer named William Tippett had bitten off a large piece of old Arthur Newsome’s chin, almost plucked out his left eye and grasped Newsome’s right eye with his other hand…..
“The old man was left with just one, badly injured, eye when the right one popped out some days later.
“The little community was in an uproar when the judge sentenced Tippett to lose his ears as punishment for the mayhem. A long, half-literate petition from Tippett’s kinsmen for remission of the penalty quickly circulated. Newsome, they argued, was an old rogue whom nobody liked. Tippett, on the the hand, was a man in the prime of life.
“The governor [Hutchins Gordon Burton], recognizing that the will of the people should be heard, showed becoming mercy, writing on the back of the memorial, ‘Allowed to keep his Ears, 1827.’ ”
–– From “Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South” by Bertram Wyatt-Brown (2007)
Given North Carolinians’ widely-known affinity for gouging — the NFL of its time? — the only surprise in this account is that Tippett even had to go to court.
“Coca-Cola has had a big run at my fountain, and is gaining in popularity all the time.
“A line of soda drinks is incomplete without it.
“Coca-Cola has come to stay!”
— From an 1892 letter to Coca-Cola from Raleigh pharmacist J. H[al] Bobbitt
Four years later, Bobbitt moved to Baltimore to manufacture a “general blood purifier” called Rheumacide.
In 1915 Bobbitt Chemical Co. was found guilty of violating the Food and Drugs Act for selling a product that “contains no ingredient or combination of ingredients capable of producing the therapeutic effects which were claimed.”