More Historic North Carolina Newspapers Now Online on Chronicling America

The Banner-Enterprise of Raleigh and Wilmington.
The Banner-Enterprise of Raleigh and Wilmington.

North Carolina Historic Newspapers is well underway contributing newspapers to the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper website during its second phase of digitization. There are now 127,225 historic North Carolina newspaper pages available on the site.

The above masthead is from the Banner-Enteprise, a late 19th-century African-American publication out of Raleigh, then Wilmington. It describes itself as the “Organ of the North Carolina Industrial Association.”

Chronicling America recently celebrated its 10,000,000 page milestone. Ever growing, it contains freely available and keyword searchable historic newspapers from 39 states and one territory.


North Carolina Historic Newspapers has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: We the People. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this post do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

National Endowment for the Humanities

Join us for a Wikipedia edit-a-thon!


The North Carolina Heritage Award has been awarded to traditional artists since its inception in 1989. North Carolina has a rich heritage of folk and heritage arts, ranging from pottery to dance. Some of the award winners are internationally known for their craft, such as Doc Watson and Jim Shumate, whereas others have practiced their arts locally. Twelve North Carolinians have gone on to win the National Heritage Fellowship Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wikipedia is often the first place people visit to find information on a topic, yet many of our state’s notable traditional artists have no entry, and in other cases the entry has little information.

On April 5 at 5:00 p.m., we’ll hold an edit-a-thon in Wilson Library that will fill in some of these gaps. We’ll use collection materials to create, update, and improve articles about North Carolina Heritage Award winners, in anticipation of the Heritage Awards ceremony presented by PineCone and the North Carolina Arts Council.

The event is sponsored by the North Carolina Collection and the Southern Folklife Collection with support from PineCone and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

More information can be found in Wikipedia and on Facebook. We hope you’ll join us!

Moonshine a force for interracial cooperation

“By drawing those at the lower end of the economic scale into an illicit enterprise, bootlegging and moonshining in the Jim Crow South had the unintended effect of blurring lines of segregation….

“The African-American newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier reported with dry humor one North Carolina reference: ‘If white and Negro preachers understood each other and worked together as well as white and Negro bootleggers, a large part of our interracial troubles would come to a speedy end.’ ”

 — From The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American Stateby Lisa McGirr (2015)


Artifact of the Month: Lucky UNC sweatshirt

Our March Artifact of the Month is a UNC sweatshirt that saw two generations of UNC basketball championship wins — and carries the spray paint to prove it.


Wynne Maynor Miller bought this faded Carolina blue shirt during her freshman year in 1982 and was wearing it as she celebrated UNC’s 1985 championship victory on Franklin Street. She recalls:

I bought this blue sweatshirt during my freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill. It witnessed all the chaos on the night we won the NCAA Basketball Championship in 1982. I will never forget the final 30 seconds of the game when the Georgetown Hoyas had one point on us, 62-61. Michael Jordan stole the ball for a one-point win. The students in Morrison Dorm chanted and screamed so loud that I felt the building shake in my 8th floor room… We could hear the whole campus roaring. I grabbed my favorite sweatshirt and we headed to Franklin Street. Beer flowed in the streets, students painted each other with blue spray paint, and naked blue people hung from trees.

I graduated in December 1984, married my college sweetheart, and left my home state — but my heart never left Carolina.

Her daughter, Courtney Miller Hileman, wore the sweatshirt as UNC again won a championship in 2009, in what would have been her final semester had she not graduated early. Her recollection:

I don’t remember the specific details like my mom does. My memory contains a blur of Carolina blue, cheering, and the smell of fire. I remember the feeling of camaraderie gained from sharing a moment in sports history: the thunderous crowd transitioning into silence as we raised our hands and held our breath while watching Tyler Hansbrough at the free throw line; the communal resounding sigh of relief when he made the shot; and the emphatic ‘Go to Hell Duke’ at the end of the game.

The sweatshirt reminds me of that instant bond between alumni that only another Tar Heel can understand.

This storied sweatshirt has clearly been well loved, though it’s in good enough condition that a third generation might be able to share in this tradition. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that it proves to be lucky again.

You can see the sweatshirt, along with many other pieces of clothing worn by Carolina students, in the exhibition From Frock Coats to Flip Flops: 100 Years of Fashion at Carolina in the North Carolina Collection Gallery through June 5th.

Having in-law as governor didn’t help Quakers

On this day in 1705: Newly appointed deputy governor Thomas Cary, son-in-law of a Quaker, disappoints N.C. Quakers by refusing to change a policy that effectively bars them from holding public office.

By 1711, however, Cary will have allied with the Quakers and undertaken a bizarrely inept armed rebellion against the government. He is arrested and sent to England but is released for lack of evidence.


North Carolina at center of Lincoln’s last dream

“While Lincoln was meeting with his cabinet [on April 14, 1865, the day before his assassination], everyone’s mind was on North Carolina, for Confederate forces were there were holding out in Raleigh, and word was awaited imminently from General Sherman, whose job it was to subdue those holdouts and bring the war formally to an end.

“Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles recorded in his diary that Lincoln was optimistic, ‘for he had last night the usual dream which he had preceding nearly every great and important event of the War.’ In the dream, Lincoln recounted, ‘he seemed to be in some singular, indescribable vessel, and that he was moving with great rapidity towards an indefinite shore.’ ‘Generally the news had been favorable which succeeded this dream,’ he declared hopefully, ‘and the dream itself was always the same….We shall, judging from the past, have great news very soon.’

“As Welles noted gloomily when he recorded this remarkable scene, ‘Great events did, indeed, follow.’ ”

— From “Lincoln and the Jews: A History” by Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell (2015)


‘Shares’ or wages — some black workers had choice

“The vast majority of black Southerners worked as tenants (renters), sharecroppers, or wage hands. Even within the same place, however, different arrangements were possible.

“As early as 1867, a North Carolina planter reported that most of his workers labored for a share of the crop, ‘but I also have about 15 good men at wages.’ On some plantations, workers insisted on working for pay; on others they insisted on shares. ‘I am no hireling, Sir,’ a North Carolina laborer responded in 1874 to the request he work for wages rather than ‘halves.’ ”

— From “Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow” by Leon F. Litwack (2010)


French taught by Frenchman left memorable legacy

“There had been pious concern [at the University of North Carolina] that French taught by a Frenchman might inculcate immoralities. The university’s president, David Swain, recommended to the Board of Trustees that any tutor would have to be ‘an educated American.’ This nativist injunction may not have been unconnected with the sad tale of Charles Marey, who had taught French in Chapel Hill in the late 1830s. Marey was ‘a Frenchman born,’ as well as ‘a man of good accomplishments and handsome physique,’ whose ‘usefulness was ruined by his fondness for ardent spirits.’

“One day the president heard a great din in Marey’s classroom, entered to find him drunk and the class happily out of control. Swain is said to have grimly said, ‘Mr. Marey, I will take charge of this class. You are relieved, sir.’ To this, Marey loftily replied, ‘If you give this order as president of the university, I obey. But if you give it as David L. Swain, I demand satisfaction!’

“The former seems to have been the case, for Marey left Chapel Hill immediately. Reports drifted back that ‘he had been killed in a brawl in Charleston.’ ”

– FromConjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860″ by Michael O’Brien (2004)


‘Emissaries of Communist conspiracy’ keep lips zipped

On this day in 1956: A subcommittee of the House Un-American Activities Committee convenes in Charlotte. Two days of hearings will single out Bill McGirt, a poet working at a Winston-Salem fish market, as the state’s top communist, but he and 10 other subpoenaed witnesses refuse to testify, and little new information surfaces.

“The conclusion is inescapable,” says Rep. Edwin Willis of Louisiana, “that these people are professional agitators, expert emissaries of the Communist conspiracy planted in the Southland. Who said it couldn’t happen here?”


One dish wonders!

Casseroles Poem-Favorite Recipes of the Lower Cape Fear

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reunion casserole - Columbus County Cookbook II

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Reuben Casserole-Home Cookin'

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Shrimp Celebration Casserole - Company's Coming

Shrimp Celebration Casserole from Company’s coming : a recipe collection from North Carolinians who enjoy company coming.

Casseroni - The Clockwatcher's Cookbook

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Helen Scarboro's Captivating Chicken Casserole - A Dash of Down East

Helen Scarboro’s Captivating Chicken Casserole from A dash of Down East.

Hot Fruit Casserole - What's Cookin' in 1822

Hot Fruit Casserole from What’s cookin’? in 1822.