“The Raleigh Canteen House and Service Station… will cause thousands of soldiers to look back as long as they live to their one hour’s stay in Raleigh as being altogether different than any other experience they had on the way from home to France and from France back home. The Raleigh Canteen and Service Station is like an oasis in the desert; or the shadow of a great rock in a weary journey….”
If your jam band has been touring (with a couple of breaks) since 1983, you generate mountains of merch. But I particularly like this sticker from Phish‘s 2018 performance at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek (mouthful!) in Raleigh.
“Nearly forgotten, Dr. King spoke in Raleigh to an integrated audience of about 5,000 at Reynolds Coliseum at 4 p.m. on July 31, 1966. A counter-protest began two hours earlier with speeches at Memorial Auditorium and continued with a march by members from two factions of the Ku Klux Klan….
“King spoke against ‘Black supremacy’ in Raleigh because Stokely Carmichael had stirred crowds just weeks before in Mississippi by repeating violent declarations of ‘Black Power.’ He also declared. ‘The Negro needs the white man to save him from his fear, and the white man needs the Negro to save him from his guilt.’ ”
On this day in 1907: Billed as “an extra added attraction,” Carry Nation appears in Salisbury’s Fourth of July parade. After inspecting local saloons — at 61, she is no longer busting them up — she declares the town a “hell hole.“
Nation’s month-long N.C. tour concludes in Raleigh. Raleigh Electric Co., whose streetcars profit from ferrying her supporters to Pullen Park, pays her $35. She makes an additional $25 from sale of souvenir cardboard and pewter hatchets.
Soap Box Derby used to be be big, both nationally and in North Carolina. Today the derby apparently survives in the state only in Morganton, where it has its own track at the Burke County Fairgrounds under the sponsorship of the Morganton Optimist Club.
Newspaper archives offer a look back at the race’s glory days in Raleigh and in Charlotte.
“The existence of a successful jazz club in [Thelonious] Monk’s home state in May 1970 was an anomaly. Woodstock (August 1969) marked the era….Jazz clubs were closing in bigger cities across the country while Raleigh, with a population of 120,000, wrestled with integration. But Peter Ingram — a scientist from England recruited to work in the newly formed Research Triangle Park — opened the Frog and Nightgown, a jazz club, in 1968 and his wife Robin managed it. Don Dixon, a house bassist at the club who later gained fame as co-producer of REM’s first album, Murmur, says ‘It took a native Brit like Peter to not know that a jazz club wouldn’t work in 1968.’
“The Frog, as it was known, thrived in a small, red-brick shopping center nestled in a residential neighborhood lined with 19th century oak trees. Surrounded by a barber shop, a laundry mat, a convenience store and a service station, the Frog often attracted large crowds; lines frequently wrapped around the corner. Patrons brown-bagged their alcohol (the Frog sold food, ice and mixers), bought cigarettes from machines, and some smoked joints in the parking lot….Due to its mixed clientele, the club came under threat of the Ku Klux Klan, but Ingram never blinked, and the Frog held on, exceeding all odds….”
“I’ve had it with Briggs Hardware. Again today when they asked what I was looking for, I was at a loss to tell them. ‘Something wooden,’ I’ve told them in the past. ‘Something shiny.’
“I don’t want a tool to do something with; I just want something to draw. In the toy department I asked to look at one of their jack-in-the-boxes. The saleswoman got snippy when I didn’t want to buy it, and when I reached for my knapsack and said I could explain, she said, ‘I don’t want to see none of your old mess.’
“I turned to leave and saw all the employees standing at the front counter talking about me. They think they’re hot stuff because the store was pictured in National Geographic.”
“I found a job. Today I’ll work, really work, for the first time since December. I’ve been hired as a waiter at a little restaurant next to the Arthur Murray Dance Studio called the Breakfast House, so I’m up at five. The last time I was up at five was because I hadn’t gone to bed yet.”
Sedaris spent the late ’70s and early ’80s in Raleigh, working odd jobs, making art and getting high. Despite his record of unreliable narration “Theft by Finding” more often than not struck me as credibly poignant. The guy can sure tell a story.