On this day in 1853: Raleigh hosts the first North Carolina State Fair.
The fair will be racially integrated until 1891, when segregationist pressures lead to designation of a “colored day.” However, blacks continue to attend in significant numbers each day.
“Livermush hails from North Carolina hilltops and foothills that once hummed with tractors, textile mills and furniture factories. Families that ate livermush lived frugally and made do with homemade. But most started buying commercially made once it became available in country and company stores during the Depression.
“Unlike bacon and country ham (or, for that matter, chitlins), livermush never took off. To this day, the epicenter of livermush is a handful of counties in western North Carolina where the five commercial producers — Mack’s, Neese’s, Jenkins, Hunter’s and Corriher’s — remain.
“I was served plenty of livermush when I was a little kid, mostly because my granddaddy loved it. I tapered off livermush as I grew up and headed out into the world….
“For about 30 years, I made one annual exception, at the North Carolina State Fair. Neese’s and/or Jenkins always had a booth in the Jim Graham Building, where workers cut bricks of livermush into bites the size of sugar cubes, fried them up and stabbed them onto frill picks. Fairgoers would queue patiently, awaiting their turn to lift a pick from the tray and pop that free bite into their mouths as though it were a communion wafer….
“These days I don’t eat livermush as often as I could, but I defend it as often as I can…. I am from western North Carolina, and I know my place.
— From “Why Livermush Matters to North Carolina” by Sheri Castle at Extra Crispy (Aug. 2)
“At the  state fair in Raleigh, North Carolina, [“Back-to-Africa” leader Marcus Garvey] meditated on a favorite theme: Negro lassitude….. Garvey sought to inspire by berating the black audience for its laziness. ‘If I waited for Negroes to convey me from New York to Raleigh,’ he lamented, ‘I would be walking for six months.’ Curiously, reported the Greensboro Daily News, even as Garvey ‘took the hide off his hearers…they cheered.’ ”
— From “Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey” by Colin Grant (2008)