‘Campaign of momentous developments’ (and consequences)


“The most memorable campaign ever waged in North Carolina is approaching Its end. It has been a campaign of startling and momentous developments….

“For the first time in the annals of political campaigning in the State, desperate leaders threw away all reserve and semblance of truth, and deliberately sought by misrepresentations and falsehoods to deceive the people about the damning facts which make up their well-established record…..

“The battle has been fought, the victory is within our reach. North Carolina is a WHITE MAN’S State, and WHITE MEN will rule it, and they will crush the party of negro domination beneath a majority so overwhelming that no other party will ever again dare to attempt to establish negro rule here….”

— From “[State Democratic] Chairman F.M. Simmons Issues a Patriotic and Able Address, Summing Up the Issues, and Appealing Eloquently to the White Voters To Redeem the State” in the News & Observer (Nov. 3, 1898)

Furnifold Simmons‘ efforts were brutally successful, putting Democrats in control of state government and setting the stage for the Wilmington coup of 1898. 

In 2007 the North Carolina Democratic Party apologized. 


Photographs by Jerome Friar of Janet Reno’s U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing

Photographs copyright Jerome Friar, 1993.
Photographs copyright Jerome Friar, 1993.

Janet Reno, the first female to hold the office of United States Attorney General, passed away early today.  The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives has four photographs made by Jerome Friar during the United States Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for her confirmation of appointment on 10 March 1993.

NC’s own ‘beguiling, bewitching, deeply American lunatic’

“Contradictory, irrational, weird…these are the appropriate adjectives to assign to the phenomenon of racism we too often, and to our detriment, regard as something rational, to be dealt with linearly, bluntly. When it comes to race in America, the story is… always more complex. The most peculiar, most fantastic story I heard during the 2008 election prepared me for what would take place in America over the next few years — not a sudden awakening from a history of racism, but a mere recess from it; not a lunacy cured, but a madman’s revelatory wink: he knows this is madness, but he is committed to it, nevertheless….

“A friend was campaigning for then-candidate Obama in North Carolina. They had organized a town-hall meeting, where people could come to get their questions answered. The situation had grown heated and yet tired — the conversation was going around in circles. And finally one white man, in utter exasperation, rose and threw on his cap. ‘F–k it,’ he hollered, ‘I’m voting for the n—–!’

“Here is the cry of a confused and yet not-at-all-confused man — in short, here is the cry of a lunatic. And he is our lunatic. He is our beguiling, bewitching, deeply American lunatic….”

— From Uzoamaka Maduka‘s introduction to James Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village” in the now-defunct American Reader (December 2012)


Marion’s Thomas Edison had own knack for invention

“Thomas Edison Westall and his family are living in an aluminum alloy house built in his spare time. The mechanical engineer thinks it may be the house of tomorrow.

“The odd house sits in the shadow of the Blue Ridge mountains a few miles from Marion [N.C.]. It is air-conditioned. It is dust-proof. It has no corners — a boon to housekeepers, says Westall. The all-aluminum house of five rooms is just large enough for the Westall family of four. There is no wasted space. Inside the aluminum is coated with a sand-like paint, giving the walls and ceilings a look of plastered finish.

“Westall doesn’t know exactly what the house would cost to build…. ‘After all,’ he explains, ‘I designed the place and put it together whenever I could find the time.’”

— From the Central Press Association (September 7, 1951)

In addition to his contribution to midcentury housekeeping, Thomas Edison Westall (1914-1989) held patents on aeronautical devices and a Velcro-packaging machine.

Does anyone know the fate of Westall’s “house of tomorrow”?


Classic bread recipes from the collection


Breads from Favorite recipes of the Lower Cape Fear.


My Grandmother’s Corn Pone from Mountain makin’s in the Smokies : a cook book.


Hoecake from Waldensian cookery.


Beaten Biscuits from More than moonshine : Appalachian recipes and recollections.


Spoon Bread from From coastal Carolina cupboards.


Sally Lunn from Soup to nuts : a cook book of recipes contributed by housewives and husbands of Alamance County and other sections of state and country.

Winston stunned by disastrous collapse of reservoir

On this day in 1904: The north wall of Winston’s brick reservoir, built in the form of a truncated pyramid, suddenly collapses, sending tons of water rushing down Trade Street toward the railroad tracks. Within moments, the city has suffered its worst disaster. Nine people are dead, the reservoir is rubble and houses in the water’s path are woodpiles.


Check out what’s new in the North Carolina Collection.

Several new titles just added to “New in the North Carolina Collection.” To see the full list simply click on the link in the entry or click on the “New in the North Carolina Collection” tab at the top of the page. As always, full citations for all the new titles can be found in the University Library Catalog and they are all available for use in the Wilson Special Collections Library.