“Blacks in the Tar Heel State were at the heart of [Marcus Garvey‘s Universal Negro Improvement Association]. During the 1920 UNIA Convention in New York, a minister from Nash County gave a report about the ‘injustices and other troubles of our people’ and blamed the ‘complete submission and subserviency to the white man and his unjust, cruel and harsh domination over them.’

“Times were changing, though. Three months after the convention, the Negro World reported that UNIA members in Nash County had rallied to the aid of a prosperous black farmer’s son imprisoned on the false charge of injuring a white woman in a car accident. They had made clear their willingness to die in his defense.

“For Garveyites in North Carolina, the right to self-definition was just as inviolable as the right to self-defense. They joined the other ‘Negroes of the World’ at the 1920 convention parade. Under the red, green and black streamers strewn across the streets of Harlem, they carried banners declaring ‘Africa for the Africans,’ ‘Africa Must Be Free’ and ‘Africa a Nation One and Indivisible.’

— From “Tar Heels, Alive” by Brandon R. Byrd  in The Point (Winter 2017) 


1. With what other state does North Carolina share the subject of its statehood quarter?

2. Name the three largest “-boros” in North Carolina.

3. True or false: The first use of “redneck” noted by the Oxford English Dictionary, in 1830, referred to North Carolinians.

4. What musician — a graduate of Laurinburg Institute in Scotland County — is credited with popularizing the hipster facial hair known as the soul patch?

5. A Congressional investigation in 1965 found that North Carolina had the most active chapter of what organization?






1. Ohio, which claims the Wright Brothers because they lived in Dayton, even if they didn’t make their first flight there.

2. Greensboro, Goldsboro, Asheboro.

3. True. “Mrs. Royall’s Southern Tour”mentions “the Red Necks, a name bestowed upon the Presbyterians in Fayetteville.” A prolific and obstreperous author, Anne Royall detested Presbyterians, describing them as “blue-skins,” “blackcoats” and “copper-heads.” Royall’s cursing at Presbyterian proselytizers near her home in Washington resulted in her becoming the first American ever convicted of being a “common scold.” (She was fined $10.)

4. Dizzy Gillespie.

5. The Ku Klux Klan. On a single night that year the Klan burned crosses at courthouses or city halls in Oxford, Currie, Wards Corner, Burgaw, Roxboro, Salisbury, Henderson, Statesville, Tarboro, Whiteville, Elizabethtown, Southport and Wilmington.


Tin of double decker bus for Piedmont Airlines

Quite a big deal it was in 1987, when Charlotte Douglas International Airport was awarded its first nonstop transatlantic passenger service.

Piedmont Airlines even commissioned this ambitiously-detailed souvenir tin box, made in England, to celebrate the Gatwick connection.


1. What is Carolina muddle?

2. In Look magazine’s 1956 issue on “The South vs. the Supreme Court,” what North Carolinian contributed “The Case for Segregation”?

3. “To such an open declaration by the Marion businessmen that they will assist Capital to choke Labor, can there, on the part of workers, be any conceivable answer save the most militant and universal and immediate organization of trade unions?” Who wrote these words about the Marion Manufacturing Co. strike that left six workers shot dead?

4. True or false: In antebellum North Carolina, towns such as Edenton, Fayetteville and Wilmington required free blacks to register and to wear cloth badges on their left shoulder bearing the word “FREE.”

5. The movie “Cold Mountain,” set in the N.C. mountains, was filmed mostly in what country?





1. A thick fish stew found in eastern North Carolina and Virginia, especially the Outer Banks.

2. Sen. Sam Ervin.

3. Sinclair Lewis. His newspaper coverage was collected in the pamphlet “Cheap and Contented Labor: The Picture of a Southern Mill Town in 1929.”

4. True.

5. Romania.


Campaign poster for Sam Ervin Jr for Solicitor


“Ervin got his first taste of corrupt politics in 1926 when he ran for district solicitor, the equivalent in most states of prosecutor. It was the first time he had sought elective office on his own, and the only time he was ever beaten. It was apparent to Ervin’s supporters that he lost the election to L. S. Sperling of nearby Lenoir because the ballot boxes in Caldwell County had been tampered with….”

— From “Just a Country Lawyer: A Biography of Senator Sam Ervin” by Paul R. Clancy (1974)

I obtained this poster many years ago from Senator Sam’s grandson, Superior Court Judge Robert C. Ervin.


1. True or false: More than one in four of the Americans named Zeb live in North Carolina.

2. Sherwood Anderson based his 1932 novel “Beyond Desire” on what N.C. event?

3. What late U.S. senator was born in North Carolina as Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr.?

4. What 17-year-old gave up painting and turned to folk music after attending the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville in 1936?

5. “Disraeli saw two nations, the rich and the poor, in 19th-century England. That day in Durham, North Carolina, I for the first time saw two nations, black and white, in 20th-century America.” Who wrote those words — Richard Nixon, Terry Sanford or John Edwards?





1. True. Zebulon “Zeb” Vance, governor during the Civil War, has been called the state’s most popular political figure.

2. The Gastonia textile workers’ strike of 1929.

3. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., born in Wilkesboro in 1917. His mother died a year later, and young Cornelius was adopted by aunt and uncle Vlurma and Titus Byrd, with whom he moved to West Virginia when he was about 2.

4. Pete Seeger, for whom hearing the five-string banjo proved a life-changing experience.

5. Nixon, recalling the sight of a shift change at a downtown tobacco plant while a law student at Duke.


Pinback for Charlotte Pride Parade, 1994


“In Charlotte, the first Gay Pride Day was held in Marshall Park in 1980, where 50 to 60 participants pulled together an event unprecedented in the Queen City. As the community developed more social infrastructure and visibility, Charlotte won the bid to hold the statewide Pride festival in 1994….The idea of a celebration of this size in Charlotte galvanized local activists into a new era of activism and social change.”

— From “Lighting the Fuse” by Josh Burford in Creative Loafing (Aug. 13, 2015)


“The 2017 Charlotte Pride parade just set a record as the city’s largest annual parade, and on Sunday, the floats went on for hours.

“Nearly 5,000 people registered to march on Tryon Street, representing everything from Charlotte’s biggest banks to its gay bars and some of its churches….Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police expected up to 130,000 people at the two-day LGBT festival and parade over the weekend.”

— From “Celebrating over the rainbow” by Jane Wester in the Charlotte Observer (Aug. 27, 2017)


1. True or false: Until “Birth of a Nation” — the movie version of Thomas Dixon’s “The Clansman” — it never occurred to the Ku Klux Klan to burn crosses.

2. What ship at the center of an international incident in 1975 began its existence as a Liberty Ship built in Wilmington during World War II?

3. “The allurement that women hold out to men is precisely the allurement that Cape Hatteras holds out to sailors: They are enormously dangerous, and hence enormously fascinating.” Who said it — H.L. Mencken, A.J. Liebling or Andy Rooney?

4. After the death of Stonewall Jackson his horse, Little Sorrel, spent more than 20 years on the Lincoln County farm owned by Jackson’s father-in-law, making appearances at fairs and Confederate veteran reunions. Where did Little Sorrel go after that?

5. What acclaimed musician’s real first name was Arthel?






1. True. Dixon had included a pivotal cross-burning in his novel to support the Klan’s supposed link to clans in Medieval Scotland that burned crosses on hillsides to rally troops before battle.

2. The Mayaguez, a U.S. container ship captured by communist Khmer Rouge guerrillas three days after it strayed into Cambodian waters.

3. Mencken.

4. Little Sorrel was shipped by rail to the Virginia Military Academy in Lexington, where Jackson had taught before the war. When the horse died he was stuffed and put on display at the VMI Museum. In 1997, the Daughters of the Confederacy reclaimed Little Sorrel’s bones from the taxidermist, burned them and buried them in front of the Jackson statue near the parade grounds.)

5. Doc Watson of Deep Gap.


With the 2018 graduation now behind us, the May Artifact of the Month reminds us that although our time at the University is brief, our love and appreciation for the school is eternal. This class ring from 1940, formerly owned by the late historian and Curator of the North Carolina Collection William S. Powell, invokes the pride and spirit possessed by anyone privileged enough to call UNC their alma mater.

William Stevens Powellclass ring with blue stone

The ring’s designers included symbols related to the University’s history. The 10k gold ring features both the official school seal and the unofficial school symbol, the Old Well. The ring includes the Latin version of the University’s formal name with an ode to the school’s charter year in 1789. It also features the phrase, “Esse Quam Videri,” meaning “to be rather than to seem,” which is also the state motto.
class ring sideviewclass ring sideviewclass ring engraving

The ring bears Powell’s name through an inscription on the inside of the band, immortalizing his status as a proud UNC alumnus. Powell earned his bachelor’s degree in library science after transferring to CUNC from Mitchell College in Statesville. He went on to earn a master’s degree in history from the University in 1947 and began his extensive career at UNC working for the North Carolina Collection.

Students now celebrate their senior status by purchasing a class ring and attending the special ceremony hosted by the General Alumni Association, a tradition dating back to 2008. The ceremony aims to connect students and alumni who purchase rings by making ring buying a special occasion, rather than it simply arriving in the mail. Rings come in multiple styles and color options, with the choice to feature either their customized degree symbol or the traditional school seal.

Koncert for Kosovo backstage pass

On this day in 1999: Ben Folds Five, Smashmouth, Dovetail Joint, Fountains of Wayne, Jimmy Eat World and 2 Skinnee J’s headline a benefit concert for refugees from Kosovo in Albania. Tickets at Charlotte’s Blockbuster Pavilion (later PNC Music Pavilion): $19.65, $15.65, $10.65.


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