Golden and Sandburg tout ‘a young fellow from Boston’

“By the end of the 1960 campaign Golden had made more than 50 speeches supporting a Kennedy presidency. When speaking to Jewish audiences in California, Golden was joined by Carl Sandburg, in Hollywood at the time serving as a consultant on a film. The two men on the stump together were a bit of genius.

” ‘I played the impresario by keeping him in the wings,’ Golden explained. He introduced his friend with a flourish: ‘I brought you a bonus — Carl Sandburg!’ Sandburg usually drew a standing ovation. The cheers would break out anew when the older man [Sandburg] paused and — as if he had just thought of the phrase — declared, ‘We are just a couple of North Carolina boys plugging for a young fellow from Boston who will make us a good president.’ ”

— From “Carolina Israelite: How Harry Golden Made Us Care about Jews, the South, and Civil Rights” by Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett (2015)


Ex-slave or governor’s daughter — who named Burlington?

“Burlington’s original name, Company Shops, is a shortened version of Company’s Repair Shops, and in 1864 the townspeople — who hated the name — briefly changed it to Vance, only to have the North Carolina Railroad tell them to change it back to Company Shops.

“On February 1, 1887, after the North Carolina Railroad had made mass layoffs in Company Shops, the town held a meeting to discuss the name.

“Various names were suggested, including Carolinadelphia, but no one could agree — until one man spoke up.

“ ‘After hearing all of this arguing, former slave and former town commissioner John Lane remarked that he had not heard such a fuss since the stock law requiring all livestock to be penned up that had been passed a short time before, resulting in the confinement of Burlington, a tame Jersey bull belonging to [postmaster?] Daniel Worth, [local historian Walter] Boyd said.

“The townspeople’s ‘ears perked up’ at the name, and it was chosen as a compromise….”

— From “Historian finds Burlington’s story in the details” by Jessica Williams in the Burlington Times-News (Nov. 20)


“The name Company Shops was applied to the community until 1887, when a list of names suggested by local citizens was referred to a committee for decision. Burlington is said to have been suggested by Katherine Scales, daughter of Governor Alfred M. Scales.”

— From “The North Carolina Gazetteer,” edited by William S. Powell and Michael Hill (2010) 


Death noted: Rocky Mount native Earle Hyman

“I was born in Rocky Mount, N.C., where my maternal grandmother is from. My mother took my younger brother and two younger sisters and me and relocated to Brooklyn, N.Y., when I was around 6 years old for a better education. North Carolina had beautiful, natural surroundings. I would go back every summer….

“My friends and I would pay our 10 cents and go upstairs to the ‘colored section’ of the movie theater, the peanut gallery. I was there anytime I could get 10 cents. I was fascinated by the movies: Lena Horne, Bette Davis, ‘Tarzan,’ ‘King Kong’ — I loved it all. I internalized how these performers could do what they could do. I wanted to imitate them. ”

— From “What Ever Happened to Earle Hyman?” by Deanna Martin-Osuagwu in Jet (April 3, 2014)

“There was no library for Blacks when he left, but upon returning one summer, he found [Rocky Mount] had built a community center with a library for African Americans. ‘I asked the librarian, “What’s the biggest book you have?” and she said, “Well, I guess that would have to be the complete works of William Shakespeare.” And from there I was hooked.’ ”

— From “Earle Hyman: Longevity Through A Lifetime Of Learning”  by Carter Higgins at (


Despite his long-running, Emmy-nominated tour as Grandpa Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” Hyman was better known in Norway for his  performances in Ibsen plays. He died last week at age 91.


Why Walmart isn’t North Carolina’s largest employer

“Despite the company’s obvious influence in the state where it was founded [Arkansas], Walmart is also the largest employer across the South in general. Whether it is Texas (171,531 employees) or Virginia (44,621), there are Walmarts aplenty….

“One notable exception? North Carolina, where the University of North Carolina system employs 74,079 people. However, that doesn’t mean that Walmart has zero presence in the Tar Heel State – it actually has 218 retail stores and 58,525 employees in North Carolina, according to its website….”

— From “Walmart Nation: Mapping the Largest Employers in the U.S.” by Jeff Desjardins at Visual Capitalist (Nov. 17)


That time Reynolds Price invited Robert E. Lee to Duke

[Reynolds] Price hung a portrait of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, photographed a week before Lee died, almost at floor level in his office, where he could see it every time he rolled by. Lee’s portrait made Reynolds think of King Lear and stimulated both a dream and the long poem ‘The Dream of Lee'(1979).”

— From “Dream of a House: The Passions and Preoccupations of Reynolds Price” by Alex Harris and Margaret Sartor (2017)

In his poem Price has driven Lee from Lexington, Va., to Duke, where he will conclude his visit with a speech to students: “He faces his crowd and says ‘I shall read from my poems tonight.’ Slightly chilled, I think ‘The Poems of Lee’ — is there any such book? Before I decide, the great voice starts — ‘First a poem I composed two days ago for  my friend Mr. Price’…. ”


Audience participation at ‘Birth of a Nation’ in Salisbury

“In later showings [of ‘The Birth of a Nation’] some Southern blacks became more demonstrative in their opposition….According to the Chicago Defender, ‘a near riot was precipitated’ in Salisbury, North Carolina, in the 1920s when black spectators in the balcony applauded and cheered at what the white spectators deemed inappropriate moments….Whites threatened ‘vociferous’ blacks that they would ‘come up there and get you,’ to which some black spectators replied, ‘Come on up.’

“When it played again in Salisbury several years later, the theater didn’t advertise ‘until the last minute’ so that protesters would have ‘no time to form an organization.’ City officials urged black citizens to stay home and ‘blacklist’ the film….”

— From Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940″ by Amy Louise Wood (2011)


Randall Jarrell stung Richard Wilbur with ‘that damn review’

“….”The most influential response to [Richard] Wilbur’s first books of poems came from [Randall] Jarrell — who, with his incomparable gift for the killer witticism, compared Wilbur to a football halfback who always settled for six or eight yards, instead of taking a chance for a big gain. ‘Mr. Wilbur never goes too far, Jarrell judged, ‘but he never goes far enough.’

“These words were to dog Wilbur’s reputation over the decades; ‘I got sick of people quoting from that damn review,’ the poet told his biographers, who rightly deem Jarrell’s review more innuendo and anecdote’ than analysis….”

— From “Celebration of the World” by William H. Pritchard in Commonweal (Aug. 27), a review of   “Let Us Watch Richard Wilbur: A Biographical Study” by Robert Bagg and Mary Bagg (2017)


In Asheville, Eleanor Roosevelt held her tongue

“I was asked if I was open to political questions and said ‘yes.’ But I did not know until I heard the question if I would answer it or not. One of the first was, ‘Would I consider that the Administration had done all that it could to give leadership in the question of desegregation.’

“Suddenly I could visualize the headlines which would focus on this much-argued point in the South as against the real reason for our visit. So I promptly announced that I had come here to talk about the United Nations and I thought that my views on the subject of civil rights were well enough known for me not to discuss them on this particular visit. That saved me from any further difficulties on that score.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt in her “My Day” column, recalling her 1956 visit to the YWCA in Asheville

Though reluctant to address race in her talk, Roosevelt had stipulated a venue that would accommodate both blacks and whites — scarce in still-segregated Asheville.

h/t Mountain Xpress


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.