“Pearl Jam played a liberal benefit concert in Charlotte, North Carolina last weekend, a show billed hopefully as a ‘farewell’ party for conservative North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, who’s running for his fifth term. Also on hand was singer Eddie Vedder’s new political guru — Ms. magazine founder and inner-child advocate Gloria Steinem, back from the ’70s.
“Vedder: ‘We get a lot of letters, requests to play bar mitzvahs, Sweet 16 birthday parties and things like that, so when we heard there was a retirement party we didn’t think we could do it. When we heard it was for Jesse Helms we said, ‘Sign us up.’ ”
— From “Pearl Jam lends a hand” by MTV News Staff (Oct. 4, 1996)
Despite the efforts of Pearl Jam and Steinem, Helms for the second time turned back challenger Harvey Gantt. This is a signed mini version of the artist Emek’s widely praised gig poster.
“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.’ “
“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.
“Contradictory, irrational, weird…these are the appropriate adjectives to assign to the phenomenon of racism we too often, and to our detriment, regard as something rational, to be dealt with linearly, bluntly. When it comes to race in America, the story is… always more complex. The most peculiar, most fantastic story I heard during the 2008 election prepared me for what would take place in America over the next few years — not a sudden awakening from a history of racism, but a mere recess from it; not a lunacy cured, but a madman’s revelatory wink: he knows this is madness, but he is committed to it, nevertheless….
“A friend was campaigning for then-candidate Obama in North Carolina. They had organized a town-hall meeting, where people could come to get their questions answered. The situation had grown heated and yet tired — the conversation was going around in circles. And finally one white man, in utter exasperation, rose and threw on his cap. ‘F–k it,’ he hollered, ‘I’m voting for the n—–!’
“Here is the cry of a confused and yet not-at-all-confused man — in short, here is the cry of a lunatic. And he is our lunatic. He is our beguiling, bewitching, deeply American lunatic….”
— From Uzoamaka Maduka‘s introduction to James Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village” in the now-defunct American Reader (December 2012)
On this day in 1908: William Howard Taft becomes the first Republican presidential candidate ever to campaign in North Carolina. His train makes whistlestops in Statesville, Salisbury, Lexington, High Point and Greensboro before continuing on to Virginia.
Taft will easily defeat Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan for the presidency, but another 20 years will pass before North Carolina goes Republican, choosing Herbert Hoover over Al Smith.
“This week’s award for Most Uplifting Politician goes to Cherie Berry, a Republican and the first female commissioner of labor in North Carolina, who put a photo of herself on the inspection certificate that must be displayed in all elevators in the state. (She even made a TV ad for her 2012 reelection campaign that depicted her speaking from within her elevator picture.)
“Political scientists found that she out-performed other Republican candidates in the 2012 election in areas with more elevators per capita, even controlling for population density, such that ‘if we could hold the election over again without this advertising, her margin of victory would vanish almost entirely.’ She didn’t out-perform in her first elections (2000 and 2004), before the picture policy was rolled out.
“Smith, J. & Weinberg, N., ‘The Elevator Effect: Advertising, Priming, and the Rise of Cherie Berry,’ American Politics Research (forthcoming).”
— From “The rise of Cherie Berry: And more surprising insights from the social sciences” by Kevin Lewis in the Boston Globe (Sept. 20)
On this day in 1919: Clyde Hoey, a member of the “Shelby Dynasty” of Democratic politicians, wins the congressional primary against Johnson D. McCall of Charlotte.
Hoey carries his home county of Cleveland by the vote of 3,369 to 34. Even more remarkably, he receives every one of the 1,242 votes cast in Shelby.
Hoey goes on to win the general election and will later serve as both governor and U.S. senator.
“Traditionally, relationships between white moderates and black leaders in the South were conducted through an elaborate ritual of condescension and deference. [Candidates] rarely campaigned directly for black support…..
“When one of the most liberal Southern congressmen, Charles Deane of North Carolina, faced a tough primary battle after refusing to sign the Southern Manifesto [of 1956], he did not have any close black contacts in his constituency; he had to write to a professor at North Carolina Central… to find the names of local African Americans he should contact.
“Despite Deane’s racial moderation, the black vote was delivered to his segregationist opponent by the sheriff’s local contacts.”
— From “Massive Resistance: Southern Opposition to the Second Reconstruction,” edited by Clive Webb (2005)
How many professors have represented North Carolina in the House or Senate?
This somewhat imprecise list compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education says 11, each of whom taught at a different college — including of course UNC Chapel Hill.
“As North Carolina Democrats go to the polls this Saturday to pick a candidate for United States Senate, the politicians here will be looking for the first clue to the political impact on the South of the Supreme Court’s ruling against public school segregation.”
— From “North Carolina Poll Will Be First Hint of South’s Reaction” in the Wall Street Journal (May 27, 1954)
That “first clue” to response to Brown vs. Board of Education turned out to be misleadingly positive: In the Democratic primary, incumbent Sen. Alton Lennon, a hardline segregationist, narrowly lost to moderate former Gov. Kerr Scott.