Decal for A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis. Includes majorette.Two oddities in this eye-catching window decal: the majorette’s uniform, which seems borrowed from the Confederate flag, and her face, which seems borrowed from a photograph (early Photoshop?).

Undated, but I’m guessing 1960. A.L. Brown High opened in Kannapolis in 1951. Decal maker Angelus Pacific was founded in 1932 in Fullerton, Calif. Both are still in business.

Pennant that reads "Point Lookout, N.C., Altitude 2877 feet"

“When, in the 1920s, Route 10 became Highway 70 (now Old U.S. 70), Point Lookout, just east of Ridgecrest, became a major tourist stop, with a view of Royal Gorge. The site was fully developed in the 1930s by H.A. Ragle of Old Fort, with a retail shop, gas station and motel. Motorists came up from Old Fort and stopped to rest their engines and nerves and visit the stop’s most famous attraction, Sally the Bear, also called ‘Prohibition Sally,’ chained to a cage and enjoying soda pop.

“ ‘Presumably, the Point Lookout viewpoint and parking area became the model for overlooks built along the Blue Ridge Parkway,’ Mary McPhail Standaert and Joseph Standaert write in ‘Swannanoa Valley.’ Ragle sold Point Lookout in 1947. The section of Old U.S. 70 between Old Fort and Black Mountain was closed off when Interstate 40 was constructed in 1968. In 2008, public and private partners created Point Lookout Trail for hikers and bikers, without any tourist attractions, except for the view.”
— From “Portrait of the Past: Point Lookout” by Rob Neufeld in the Asheville Citizen-Times (Feb. 9, 2016)

Carved wooden model of a still with words "Moonshine Still, Cheroke, N.C."

Cherokee — or more specifically, the local tourism industry — does love its moonshine souvenirs. This wood and wire creation stands 3 inches tall.

Glass mug with partial image of front page of Daily IndependentGlass mug with another partial image of Daily Independent story on Cannon Mills sale

This glass mug reproduces a front-page story in the Daily Independent of Kannapolis, Feb. 4, 1982.

An odd keepsake – but local news didn’t get any bigger than the sale of privately owned Cannon Mills to serial entrepreneur David Murdoch. Three years later Murdoch sold the company to Fieldcrest, which unloaded it on Pillowtex in 1997. In 2003 Pillowtex filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and shut down 16 plants in North America. Some 4,800 Pillowtex workers were in North Carolina — the largest mass layoff in state history.


Several new titles were 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 all titles are available for use in the Wilson Special Collections Library.

“Public opinion! What class of men have an immense preponderance over the
rest of the community, in their power of representing public opinion in the
legislature? The slave­ owners. They send from their 12 States 100 members,
while the 14 free States, with a free population nearly double, return but
142. Before whom do the presidential candidates bow down the most humbly,
on whom do they fawn the most fondly, and for whose tastes do they cater
the most assiduously in their servile protestations? The slave­owners

“Public opinion! Hear the public opinion of the free South, as expressed by
its own members in the House of Representatives at Washington. ‘I have a
great respect for the chair,’ quoth North Carolina, ‘I have a great
respect for the chair as an officer of the House, and a great respect for
him personally; nothing but that respect prevents me from rushing to the
table and tearing that petition which has just been presented for the
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, to pieces.’­ ”

— From “American Notes for General Circulation” by Charles Dickens (lightly edited)

North Carolina had 13 representatives during Dickens’s 1842 visit — I’m not finding which of them so respectfully restrained himself. 


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. Souls got saved, sometimes 30- or 40,000 of them”….
Who said it?

2. In 1967 Spray, Leaksville and Draper merged to form what Rockingham County town?

3. In 1925 what sculptor proposed carving an enormous memorial to Confederate heroes Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson on the cliffs at Chimney Rock above Lake Lure?

4. No fewer than six communities in the U.S. claim to possess “the world’s largest frying pan.” Where is North Carolina’s?

5. In 1950 when the Atomic Energy Commission chose Nevada for atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons, what site was runner-up?

Answers below





1. Bob Dylan.

2. Eden.

3. Gutzon Borglum, who would later become famous for Mount Rushmore.

4. Rose Hill, not coincidentally the site of the annual North Carolina Poultry Jubilee.

5. The Outer Banks.


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 month after midterm elections in which the Democrats lost 72 seats in the U.S. House and seven seats in the U.S. Senate.

William E. Leuchtenburg, an emeritus professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill and an expert of Roosevelt’s presidency, says some questioned whether the New Deal and Roosevelt’s liberal outlook could survive.

“This was the very first time that Roosevelt had made a public address anywhere since his setback in the 1938 elections,” Leuchtenburg said.

Carolina Political Union invitation to FDR event
Roosevelt came to Chapel Hill at the invitation of the Carolina Political Union, a non-partisan student organization that promoted discussions on political and government issues. He spoke at Woollen Gymnasium, a venue selected after rain forced the cancellation of an outdoor appearance at Kenan Stadium.

More than 6,000 people packed into the gym. Those unable to squeeze into that location could listen from Memorial Hall where the speech was piped in. The CBS and NBC radio networks broadcast Roosevelt’s voice live on more than 225 stations around the nation. The BBC also carried the speech in the United Kingdom. And those in Europe could listen over shortwave to the speech translated into French, German, Italian, and Russian.

The Daily Tar Heel reported that the podium from which Roosevelt spoke was bedecked with 15 microphones and that eight newsreel crews, equipped with five 1,000-watt lights, filmed portions of the speech. Writing about the speech in the next day’s paper, a New York Times reporter noted that Roosevelt repeatedly pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe sweat created by the powerful lights.

Prior to Roosevelt’s remarks, Clyde R. Hoey, North Carolina’s governor, and Frank Porter Graham, UNC’s president, offered welcomes. Graham also presented FDR with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. He cited the President for standing on the side of “oppressed minorities and disinherited majorities,” and for promoting an America that “stands for the freedom of open and wide discussions of all issues and a fair hearing for all sides, for the ways of peace and democracy rather than of war and dictatorship; for a new hope to you and a more equal educational opportunity to all children in all states.”

Leuchtenburg says Roosevelt was pleased to receive the degree from Graham, who was “regarded as perhaps the most important liberal in the South—a strong supporter of the New Deal.”

Roosevelt began his remarks by quoting Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo of the U.S. Supreme Court. Cardozo was considered an eminent legal scholar and had died in July 1938.

“We live in a world of change,” Cardozo wrote. “If a body of law were in existence adequate for the civilization of today, it could not meet the demands of tomorrow. Society is inconstant…..There is change whether we will it or not.”

Leuchtenburg says that, throughout his speech, Roosevelt sought to underscore openness to change and the importance of liberal thought.

“Roosevelt thought that what he could count on from young people was a new generation that, if one could appeal to them properly, would quite naturally be willing to move forward on more progressive paths,” Leuchtenburg said.

Roosevelt praised the University of North Carolina as “representative of liberal teaching and liberal thought.”

With his remarks, Roosevelt also hoped to portray himself as benign and “defang the criticism of him as someone who hated the rich,” Leuchtenburg said. Though, Leuchtenburg noted, during his 1936 campaign for president, Roosevelt did denounce the rich as “economic royalists” and said, “They hate me and I welcome their hatred.”

Roosevelt told his UNC audience that the press had portrayed him as “an ogre, a consorter with Communists, a destroyer of the rich,” and someone who, “‘breakfasted every morning on a dish of ‘grilled millionaire.'”

FDR drew laughter from the crowd when he said, “Actually I am an exceedingly mild-mannered person, a practitioner of peace, both domestic and foreign, a believer in the capitalistic system, and for my breakfast a devotee of scrambled eggs.”

Roosevelt listed some of his New Deal accomplishments — price supports for crops, federal insurance of banks, and social security — and then encouraged UNC undergraduates and young people listening on the radio to become politically active.

FDR concluded his speech by telling the audience that he feels a strong connection to the nation’s young people. “And that is why I am happy and proud to became an alumnus of the University of North Carolina, typifying as it does American liberal thought through American action,” he said.

Roosevelt’s visit to Chapel Hill received extensive coverage in many newspapers the following morning. Among the details featured, the New York Times reported that members of the President’s traveling party became separated as they left the gym with the large crowd. Their separation caused a delay in Roosevelt’s departure for Durham, where he boarded a train to return to Washington, D.C.

An audio montage produced for WUNC 91.5 with William Leuchtenburg’s comments on FDR’s speech

Listen to FDR’s full speech

License plate reading, "Norlina, where North Carolina begins"

“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 (Texas+New Mexico), Calexico (California+Mexico). Norlina is a telescope form of North Carolina….”

Mencken’s mention may have been the high point of Norlina’s national prominence. The town’s population has hovered around 1,000 for the past half century, as it was first bypassed by I-85 in 1960, then abandoned by Amtrak’s Silver Star  in 1986. Last year it even lost its library.

For a glimpse of a more robust era in Norlina, check out this postcard of the American Tavern on U.S. 1 from the Durwood Barbour Collection.


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 gang violence?

4. True or false: Under Jim Crow, black passengers were seated in the front of airplanes because the back was considered safer.

5. Nina Simone, best known for her recording of “I Loves You, Porgy,” was born in the same town where DuBose Heyward, author of the novel “Porgy,” died — what was it?

Answers below





1. After R. J. Reynolds Tobacco bought Nabisco, CEO F. Ross Johnson criticized Winston-Salem as too “bucolic” and moved company headquarters to Atlanta.

2. FDR. The experiment failed.

3. “Rumble,” a throbbing guitar instrumental that introduced the seminal “power chord” to rock ‘n’ roll. Peter Townsend of The Who: “If it hadn’t been for Link Wray and ‘Rumble,’ I never would have picked up a guitar.”

4. True.

5. Tryon.


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