New in the collection: Tobacco Fair badge

Gold medal with the words "Souvenir" and "Tobacco Fair"

“The first Forsyth County fair, in the 1880s, was dedicated to wheat, at the time the most valuable product, along with fruits and berries, grown in the area. But in 1897, the tobacco interests put on a huge ‘Industrial and Tobacco Fair’ which eclipsed all former efforts. The Twin City Sentinel published a special commemorative edition. All of the events were held in the tobacco warehouses.”

— From the colorful and thorough “Tobacco warehouses…T.J. Brown lights the fire…” by the North Carolina Collection, Forsyth County Public Library

The Tobacco Fair turned into the Dixie Classic in 1956 and then into the Carolina Classic in 2019.

New in the collection: anti-HB2 pinback button

As everywhere else in the state, public opinion on HB2 in Forsyth County was starkly split.

In a one-day special session on March 23, 2016, the N.C. General Assembly had reversed a Charlotte ordinance  expanding gay and transgender protections — most controversially, the right to use public restrooms based on gender identity. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill that night, making it a central issue in his unsuccessful campaign for reelection.

On March 30, 2017, after a year of national boycotts and other protests against the “bathroom bill,” the legislature approved a compromise  that repealed HB2 but restricted anti-discrimination ordinances in cities and counties. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the measure into law.

 

Counting on ‘safety in the voice of the people’

“A Meeting of the citizens of Forsyth County, irrespective of party, will be held… to take counsel together on the alarming condition of the country.

“South Carolina has seceded from the Union. Commissioners from Alabama and Mississippi are now at our State capital inviting North Carolina to do the same thing. A great question is now before the people — no less than Union or Disunion.

“Believing that there is safety in the voice of the people, all our fellow-citizens, without regard to party, are earnestly invited to attend.”

(signed) MANY PEOPLE

— From a placard announcing “Public Meeting at Winston…On December 29th, 1860” 

Such apprehension about secession wasn’t unique to these “MANY PEOPLE.” North Carolina would become the last state to join the Confederacy, reluctantly seceding on May 20, 1861.