Piedmont merged into USAir in 1989, beating by a few years the advent of not-nearly-as-evocative bar-code tags.
The story of Col. Joseph Shelby, the Overmountain Men and the Battle of Kings Mountain is well documented — less so the cigars named for him in the town named for him.
This ad appeared in the Danville (Va.) Bee on April 18, 1927: “Wanted: Responsible Salesman To sell Hava-Rexa, Champagne, and Colonel Shelby cigars to retailers. Attractive line; liberal commissions. Rex Cigar Co., Shelby, N.C.”
“Colonel Shelbys are growing in favor,” this pitch to dealers claims, but a Cleveland County history notes only that “After several years the business moved from North Carolina and smokers lost the pleasure of a local cigar.”
The “4 More” theme on this somewhat crowded convention badge linked the Clinton-Gore ticket’s bid for an encore in the White House with Gov. Hunt’s simultaneous run for his fourth and final term.
Reelection ruled. Hunt defeated Robin Hayes 56-43 percent. Nationally Clinton received only 49 percent — 44 percent in North Carolina — but that was enough because Ross Perot’s third-party candidacy kept Bob Dole from topping 41 percent.
“The RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. created ‘Pride in Tobacco’ to promote this pro-tobacco culture and oppose tobacco-control policies…. through news releases, billboards and also materials such as bumper stickers, posters, window decals, baseball caps, stamps, and brochures….
“A 1978 Tobacco Institute newsletter stated that ‘RJ Reynolds “Pride in Tobacco” campaign won praise in four North Carolina newspapers.’ Examples are ‘Those of us in tobacco country have stood by in embarrassment and shame and have silently taken the abuse for too long. It’s time for us to tell our story’ (Greenville Reflector). The campaign ‘not only is appropriate, it is important to North Carolina’ (Goldsboro News-Argus). ‘The embattled tobacco community must unite in developing a counterattack to bolster its image’ (Wilmington Star). ‘North Carolinians have nothing to be ashamed about in the production of tobacco products’ (Franklin Times).”
— From “Tobacco-Control Policies in Tobacco-Growing States: Where Tobacco Was King” by Amanda Fallin and Stanton A. Glantz in the Milbank Quarterly (June 4, 2015)
Was the desperate clamor of “Pride in Tobacco” the death rattle of decades of North Carolina’s unenlightened self-interest?