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Archive for December, 2018

1. “When I was growing up, Billy Graham was very popular…. I went to two or three of his rallies in the ’50s or ’60s. This guy was like rock ‘n’ roll personified — volatile, explosive. He had the hair, the tone, the elocution — when he spoke, he brought the storm down. Clouds parted. […]

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This month marks the 80th anniversary of a speech by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at UNC, an event that is considered significant in FDR’s political career. Roosevelt’s arrival on December 5th, 1938 was the first visit to Chapel Hill by a sitting U.S. President in the 20th century. And his speech took place scarcely a […]

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“Many American place-names are purely arbitrary coinages,” H.L. Mencken noted in “The American Language” (1921). “Towns on the border between two states, or near the border, are often given names made of parts of the names of the two states, e. g., Pen-Mar (Pennsylvania+Maryland), Mar-Del (Maryland+Delaware), Texarkana (Texas+Arkansas), Kanorado (Kansas+Colorado), Tex-homa (Texas+Oklahoma), Dakoming (Dakota+Wyoming), Texico […]

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1. Why did “Proud to be Bucolic” appear on bumper stickers in Winston-Salem in the 1980s? 2. What president instructed that redwoods and sequoias be planted in Great Smoky Mountains National Park? 3. What 1958 hit record by Dunn native Link Wray was banned in New York and Boston for fear it would incite teenage […]

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  The essay attached to Clyde Hoey‘s highway historical marker notes his “distinctive style of dress, replete with swallow-tail coat, striped pants, wing collar, high-topped shoes, and boutonniere,” and his official gubernatorial portrait doesn’t disappoint. The inscription reads, “To my good friend, Hon. H. J. Hatcher. Yours truly, Clyde R. Hoey, Governor.” John Blythe suggests […]

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1. What essential product does Spruce Pine provide the Masters golf tournament? 2. “They used to write in my studio bios that I was the daughter of a cotton farmer from Chapel Hill. Hell, baby, I was born on a tenant farm in Grabtown. How’s that grab ya? Grabtown, North Carolina. And it looks exactly […]

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  After cotton was picked and baled, it was stored at the local gin and tagged with an identifying number linking it to the farmer who owned it. Cotton is highly flammable, so the metal tags were especially important in the event of fire. These “fire tags” had mostly given way to other means of […]

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1. In 1948 citizens of Newport News petitioned Virginia’s governor to close its southern border — why? 2. In 1988 officials at Raleigh-Durham International Airport teasingly distributed pinback buttons asking, “Parlez-vous Francais, Charlotte?” — why? 3. After this educator’s death at the age of 39, Frederick Douglass lamented that “the race has lost its ablest […]

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“Among others who called this morning was rather an elderly woman who said she lived in Alexandria. She wanted money to pay her rents and for other purposes. She brought no letters. I did not learn her name. She said she had lived in Alexandria many years. She had a genteel appearance. “I endeavored to […]

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“Through various civic activities, [Charles F.] Cates had made the friendship of John Sprunt Hill, an attorney in Durham…. Desiring to do something for his native community of Faison [in Duplin County], Hill persuaded Cates to move his pickle operation there [from Swepsonville in Alamance County], and local farmers were soon persuaded to begin growing […]

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