“Billy ‘Crash’ Craddock, born in 1939 in Greensboro, earned the nickname ‘Crash’ while a running back on his high school football team.
“The young, handsome Craddock was signed by Columbia Records to compete with Elvis. During 1959 he had a No. 1 record in Australia and was greeted there by screaming crowds when he toured with Bobby Rydell, The Everly Brothers, Santo and Johnny and the Diamonds…”
— From his biography at the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame
After his teen idol career stalled, Craddock made a successful transition to country. In 2003 Greensboro named a bridge after him.
“Hillary Clinton returned to the campaign trail Thursday, four days after her near fainting spell, with little room for another misstep.
“The moment she took the stage, Clinton addressed the topic that has overwhelmed headlines since Sunday: Her health. She acknowledged to the Greensboro, North Carolina, crowd that being forced to stay at home following her pneumonia diagnosis at such a crucial moment in the election wasn’t easy to stomach.
” ‘As you may know, I recently had a cough that turned out to be pneumonia. I tried to power through it but even I had to admit that maybe a few days of rest would do me good,’ Clinton said, after walking out into a school gymnasium to James Brown’s ‘I Got You (I Feel Good).’ ‘I’m not great at taking it easy even under ordinary circumstances, but with just two months to go until Election Day, sitting at home was pretty much the last place I wanted to be.’ “
“[‘Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America’] sprang from [Kathleen] Belew’s research on a 1979 anti-Ku Klux Klan rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, in which five members of the Communist Workers Party were murdered. A comment by one of the killers, who was among a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis, stuck with her: ‘I shot communists in Vietnam. Why wouldn’t I do that here?’
” ‘I couldn’t stop thinking about that,’ Belew said. ‘It collapsed peace time and war time, front lines and home fronts, and different kinds of enemies. I looked through the archive generated by this movement, and that was pervasive throughout the materials. The Vietnam War was a major force in uniting this social movement.’ ”
— From “In new book, UChicago historian examines rise of white power movement” at History News Network (May 2)
“January 24, 1951
“Dear Mr. President,
“How are you today? Fine I hope. I know you are wondering who is writing you. Well, I am a 15 year old Negro 10th Grade school girl. I am speaking for our History class since we are interested in the News and World Affairs….
“Every time war starts, members of the opposite race start talking about freedom. I am living in a town [Greensboro] where we have no freedom….
— From “Dear Harry: Truman’s Mailroom, 1945-1953” by D. M. Giangreco and Kathryn Moore (1999)
Today over on the DigitalNC blog we’re sharing 10 examples of North Carolina student protests, beginning with the historic Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in on this date in 1960 and continuing up to 2012.
The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center is located in Wilson Library and works closely with the North Carolina Collection. We’ll occasionally be cross-blogging some posts that North Carolina Miscellany readers may find interesting.
“The only time I tried to directly interrogate my grandparents on race was in the early 1990s. Having learned about Greensboro’s importance in the civil rights movement from a class in college, I asked them what they remembered about the years of school desegregation and the Woolworth sit-ins. There followed a long pause, punctuated by the tick-tock of a half-dozen wind-up clocks….
“My people were fighting to preserve white supremacy [in the Patriots of North Carolina], but I never would have known about their efforts without digging through archives….”
— From “Hiding in plain sight” by David Neal at Scalawag (July 8, 2015)
“When I drove into the parking lot of Replacements, Ltd., on the outskirts of Greensboro, North Carolina, I thought of a saying that Rosanne Cash attributes to her father, Johnny, who was an avid collector of rugs, china, linens, and furniture: ‘Every possession is just a stick to beat yourself with.’ There are many, many sticks with which one might beat oneself at Replacements….
“I came to see the huge collection of Fiestaware, the beloved American-made brand of colorful china, and to follow a hunch I had that a plate has special significance in the South. This was both an ethnographic mission for my work as a cultural anthropologist [at Duke] and a personal quest: I am one of countless Americans who collect Fiestaware. Nietzsche would describe me as an ‘antiquarian,’ or someone who believes that the past ‘belongs to the preserving and revering soul — to him who with loyalty and love looks back on his origins.’ Mostly, I hoped to understand the pull in my gut, an embodied sense of longing, I feel every time I see those brightly colored dinner plates….”
— From “The State of the Plate” by Kelly Alexander in the Oxford American (April 19)
Alexander isn’t alone in her fetish. Approaching the vast Fiestaware display at Replacements, her guide warned that “One woman fainted when she saw this, and another fell to her knees — I saw it happen…. Fiestaware can do that to people.”
“As early as 1848 local leaders had advocated [according to Greensboro’s Whig newspaper] ‘a Monument erected to the memory of [Gen. Nathanael] Greene, and devoted to the perpetual Union of these States.’ Who could object to such a monument, ‘connected as it is with the South?’ ….
“Unlike the memorials at other Southern battlefields, that at Guilford Courthouse would ‘make us sacrifice our narrow, sectional prejudices and differences, which are worth nothing, for the preservation and continuance of… brotherly love, and national harmony…’
“Even with lifetime memberships of only one dollar, the Greene Monument Association raised only $600 and never constructed a monument before the Civil War rendered moot its attempt to preserve the union by erecting obelisks.”
.— From “Memories of War: Visiting Battlegrounds and Bonefields in the Early American Republic” by Thomas A. Chambers (2012)
On this day in 1958: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., not yet 30 years old but already famous for having led the Montgomery bus boycott, pays his first visit to Greensboro.
The local NAACP has invited King, but only black Bennett College will provide him a hall. He addresses two overflow crowds — morning and night — at Pfeiffer Chapel. “We are breaking loose from the Egypt of segregation and moving into the promised land of integration . . . .” he says. “There are giants in the way, but it can be done.”
Five years later he will return to Greensboro for a ceremony honoring the students who ignited the sit-in movement at the Woolworth’s lunch counter.
“About the time we crossed the white chalk line which divides Virginia from North Carolina, we became aware that some sort of dispute was taking place in the interior of the car….When we reached a town of some size we sought out the largest garage and demanded an inspection….
“[The mechanic] glanced in at the knickerbocker-clad Zelda, seated in nonchalant gravity in the front seat….
” ‘It’s a pity that a nice girl like you should be let to wear those clothes.’
“It was fifty years of provincialism speaking; it was the negative morality of the poor white — and yet it filled me with helpless and inarticulate rage…..
“We got ourselves eventually from the garage…but we could not erase it from our minds that, so long as Zelda wore her white knickerbockers, the surrounding yokelry regarded us with cold, priggish superiority, as ‘sports.’ We were in Carolina, and we had not conducted ourselves sartorially as the Carolinians….
“At twilight we came into Greensboro, which offered the O. Henry Hotel, an elaborate hostelry, at sight of which Zelda decided to slip on a skirt over her knickerbockers….”
— From “The Cruise of the Rolling Junk” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, a somewhat fictionalized account of a trip the Fitzgeralds took from Westport, Conn., to Montgomery, Ala., in 1920. Serialized in Motor magazine (March-May 1924)