“….In their reactions to last week’s call by the Pasquotank NAACP to remove a Confederate monument from the county courthouse property, several Pasquotank commissioners said the Civil War was fought more over the issue of states’ rights than slavery.
“That’s just not so, said Michael Hill, a historian with the North Carolina Office of Archives and History, who called the states’ rights justification for the South’s secession a ‘bogus argument’….
“ ‘That debate was long settled among historians,’ Hill said in a phone interview. ‘Slavery was central to the debate that preceded the war.’
“Hill said that when Southern states declared their causes for seceding from the Union, many said point-blank it was because of the North’s perceived hostility to slaveholding. Shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865, he said, many Southern leaders and writers tried to redefine, and even rename, the Civil War — one of those names was in fact the ‘War Between the States’ — but he said there’s no doubt about the ‘centrality of slavery’ in causing the war…”
— From “Historian: Slavery, not states’ rights, caused Civil War” by Jon Hawley in the Elizabeth City Daily Advance (July 4)
Of course, this misconception isn’t limited to northeastern North Carolina.
— In praise of an unidentified piece of wood and other “stuff from the attic.”
— Or maybe your tastes run to an identified piece of wood.
— Quite an eBay offering of early paper items from Statesville (scroll down).
— Should Moore County’s much-traveled World War I monument be moved to the Pik-N-Pig? Michael Hill, be grateful you don’t have to mediate this one.
A few words with Michael Hill, coordinator of the N.C. Highway Historical Marker Program:
Of the 7 markers approved in the last round, 5 recognize blacks and 1 a Cherokee. Is the marker advisory committee playing catch-up? Is this a formal policy?
We have no established policy but rather operate based primarily on what comes through the transom. If you check Blacks in the Keywords search box, you’ll see that a heavy proportion of those since I joined the staff in 1982 have been African American. In the broader sense, this might be seen as catch-up but, more precisely, it’s a reflection of public interest.
What caused removal of the marker for Tryon’s March in Polk County in Macon County? How often does this happen?
Removal of markers is uncommon. The note on the remaining Tryon’s March marker page [O-34]
explains the situation, i.e., we got it wrong. Likewise with a Stoneman’s Raid marker in Newton. It’s no longer there; he missed Newton by 40 miles. Irony of ironies, the number once assigned to that marker is now on the Hiram Revels marker in Lincolnton [O-12]
. When Jeff Davis left the Senate, some predicted that one day his seat would be filled by a black man and it came to pass. That man was Revels.
How unusual was Gaston County’s decades-long rejection of a marker for the Loray Mill Strike [O-81]?
Also rare are objections by local parties to a marker. Gastonia is the prime example.
In Raleigh descendants of W. W. Holden at one time opposed mention of impeachment on his marker [H-92]. But it stands today, right outside the N&O office, and indicates that he was impeached and removed.
County commissioners in Greene County were not thrilled about the prospect of the James Glasgow marker [F-66] noting that he was convicted on land fraud charges but they did not stand in the way of its placement.
Until recently I knew only about Charlotte’s Brooklyn neighborhood, not about Raleigh’s or Wilmington’s. Is this nomencluster anything more than coincidence? Does the name appear elsewhere in North Carolina? (If so, it avoided Michael Hill’s exhaustive expansion of the Gazetteer.)
The Brooklyn (New York) Public Library offers this entertaining look at its “Brooklyn (non New York)” files, but no mention is made of North Carolina neighborhoods.
None of these, of course, is North Carolina’s most famous Brooklyn.
Thanks to Michael Hill for this list of state highway historical markers approved by the advisory committee May 25:
— Pea Island Lifesavers. Only U.S. Lifesaving Station manned by black crew. Led by Richard Etheridge, 1879-1899.
— George H. White, 1852-1918. Represented the state’s “Black Second” district, U.S. House, 1897-1901. Last black Southerner in Congress for 72 years. Lived two blocks east. [Tarboro]
— Anna J. Cooper, 1858-1964. Educator, orator & early black feminist. Graduate, St. Augustine’s. Author, A Voice from the South (1892). Grave 2 1/2 blks. S. [Raleigh]
— Fairgrounds Speedway. After 1928 popularized Indy-style car racing. Site hosted the last NASCAR race on dirt track, 1970. Half-mile oval was 250 yds. SW. [Raleigh]
— Lewis Leary, 1835-1859. Free black abolitionist & conspirator in 1859 with John Brown in attack on U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Killed in assault. Lived in this vicinity. [Fayetteville]
— Omar Ibn Said, ca. 1770-1863. Muslim slave & scholar. African-born, he penned autobiography in Arabic in 1831. While living in Bladen Co., worshipped with local Presbyterians. [Fayetteville]
— Nimrod Jarrett Smith, 1837-1893. Principal Chief, Eastern Band of Cherokee, 1880-1891. Led incorporation of Band & centralization of Tribal government on his property, here. [Cherokee]
Expected by week’s end: Details on each marker.