What black people wanted to be called in 1906

“The New York Tribune [in 1906] made a canvass of a great many prominent Negroes and white persons to ascertain what they thought the Negro should be called…. An average of eleven Negroes out of twenty desired to be spoken of as Negroes. The other nine spurned the word as ‘insulting,’ ‘contemptuous,’ ‘degrading,’ ‘vulgar.’ Two argued for ‘Afro-American,’ two for ‘Negro-American,’ one for ‘black man,’ and one was indifferent so long as he was not called ‘Nigger’….

“E .A. Johnson, Professor of Law in Shaw University, North Carolina, said, ‘The term “Afro-American” is suggestive of an attempt to disclaim as far as possible our Negro descent, and casts a slur upon it. It fosters the idea of the inferiority of the race, which is an incorrect notion to instill into the Negro youth, whom we are trying to imbue with self-esteem and self-respect.’ ”

— From “Race Distinctions in American Law” by Gilbert Thomas Stephenson (1910) 

Edward Austin Johnson, who left North Carolina for New York a year later, had quite a productive career.


Reagan returned to Wilmington after crowning gig

On this day in 1959: Actress Debra Paget is crowned queen of Wilmington’s annual North Carolina Azalea Festival. Emceeing her coronation: Ronald Reagan, host of TV’s “General Electric Theater.”

Reagan will visit again in 1960, but this time Merv Griffin is emcee.


For 7 young Cherokees, a visit to a very different world

On this day in 1730: At the site of present-day Franklin, Sir Alexander Cuming persuades seven young Cherokee men to accompany him to London. During their four months in England they will have their portraits painted by William Hogarth, kiss the hand of King George II and sign a treaty of alliance.


UNC athletics as a powerful force for morality (1894)

“It would be dishonest not to say that the greatest force in the life of the University to-day contributing to sobriety, manliness, healthfulness and morality generally is athletics.”
— UNC president George Tayloe Winston, writing in Alumni Quarterly, 1894

“Amid the blue-and-white pompoms, few are so rude as to mention that the University of North Carolina, the Microsoft of college basketball, remains enmeshed in a scandal of spectacular proportions. Put simply, for two decades until 2013, the university provided fake classes for many hundreds of student athletes, most of them basketball and football players….”

— From “North Carolina’s Dominance Fails to Cover Cheating’s Stain” by Michael Powell in the New York Times (March 31)