New in the collection: Bob Dylan Charlotte concert poster

Poster that includes a photograph of Bob Dylan and reads "Cricket Arena, Sunday, February 10th, 8pm, in show and concert, Bob Dylan and His Band, In person."

“The crowd of at least 5,000 welcomed the new and old Dylan, dressed in a dark suit and white cowboy hat. The show was general admission, so hundreds of people packed the arena floor, some dancing and others sitting along the perimeter nodding their heads appreciatively.

“Dylan’s influence on music is undeniable, from his political folk songs of the early ’60s to his electrified folk-rock of the mid-’60s. Sunday’s show attracted a range of fans representing his impact, from hippie throwbacks dancing next to tie-dye Phish fans to yuppies with young children….”

— From “Band steals show as Dylan delights fans of all ages” by Tonya Jameson in the Charlotte Observer (Feb. 11, 2002)

New in the collection: Durham Soap Box Derby pinback

Pinback button that reads "Go 'Lucky Seven,' Kenny Walker, Durham, 1978

 

Soap Box Derby used to be be big, both nationally and in North Carolina. Today the derby apparently survives in the state only in Morganton, where it has its own track at the Burke County Fairgrounds under the sponsorship of the Morganton Optimist Club.

Newspaper archives offer a look back at the race’s glory days in Raleigh and in Charlotte.

In 1970 a Durham contestant won the national championship. Less illustriously, a 1993 champion from Huntersville — perhaps influenced by the local culture? — was stripped of his title for using unapproved materials.

 

New in the collection: handbill for George Wallace speech

“About 450 attended, compared with about 1,500 in Asheville Wednesday and an even larger crowd in Raleigh Tuesday.

“Out of deference to UNC-Charlotte’s televised basketball game [against N.C. State in the NIT], Wallace spoke a little more than 20 minutes….

“Wallace was joined on the Park Center stage by Barry Worley, who was shot in 1974 as a Charlotte park policeman on duty outside a Memorial Stadium rock concert.

“Worley, like Wallace, is partly paralyzed and in a wheelchair.

” ‘Your former patrolman… is a typical example of what happens if we don’t get a handle on this problem of crime,’ Wallace said. ‘What we need is to return to the electric chair to get some people off of society.’

“He also touched on his familiar campaign themes — tax reform, welfare reform, the importance of military strength and the evils of ‘big government.’ ”

— From “Wallace: No Plan to Bolt” by Jerry Shinn in the Charlotte Observer (March 19, 1976)

Wallace’s loss to Jimmy Carter in the next week’s Democratic primary, 54 to 35 percent, virtually ended his fourth and final bid for the presidency.

 

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)

 

Charlotte Observer: Wave flag or be labeled ‘Hitler-lover’

“By late 1940 North Carolinians began to prepare for a war that was rapidly closing in on them. Charlotteans responded with a dramatic increase in patriotic fervor and reverence for the American flag….The Charlotte Observer attacked those who failed to display the proper zeal for their country: ‘Anybody who fails to contribute is in a fair way to be thought of as a Nazi-sympathizer, Hitler-lover or just a plain tight-wad and cheapskate.’ ”

— From “Home Front: North Carolina during World War II” by Julian M. Pleasants (2017)

 

‘Successive thrills’ for audience at ‘The Birth of a Nation’

“Although [‘The Birth of a Nation’] played only in larger cities, by one estimate 90 percent of Southerners had seen the film by 1930….The Charlotte Observer reported that the local theater had received mail and telephone orders from towns as far away as 75 miles….

“These audiences consumed the picture actively….In Asheville, the ‘large crowd experienced successive thrills, several people becoming excited almost to the point of hysteria….’ ”

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

 

FBI probes Observer’s spy claims, finds…nothing

“[During World War II] the Charlotte Observer took up the hunt for un-American activities, claiming that over 2,000 subversives were present in the area and arguing that the U.S. Constitution did not protect anyone accused of Communist or Nazi sympathies. The paper chastised those who complained about FBI investigations as more concerned with civil liberties than with victory….

“The bureau examined a number of cases, including the rumor of a Nazi spy ring in Salisbury, and found no saboteurs….”

— From “Home Front: North Carolina during World War II” by Julian M. Pleasants (2017)

 

Charlotte hammered by spinal meningitis, then flu

On this day in 1918: A spinal meningitis quarantine shuts down Charlotte’s amusement places, churches, schools and public gatherings. The quarantine will be lifted after two weeks, but 10 months later the city is again quarantined, this time because of an epidemic of influenza.