Joe Mitchell’s essentials: the Times and the Robesonian

“There is a newspaper published in Lumberton, which is the largest town in Robeson County and the county seat, named the Robesonian. It is an old paper — it was a hundred years old several years ago — that prints news from all over the county. Shortly after I came to New York City, I subscribed to the Robesonian, out of homesickness, and I still subscribe to it; it is as necessary to me and as much a part of my life as the New York Times….”

— From “Days in the Branch: Remembering the South in the city” by  in The New Yorker (Dec. 1)

In this second and apparently final chapter of Mitchell’s unfinished memoir, he happens onto the 1790 census and finds countless  names he still sees on trips back to Robeson County — “on the fronts of stores and filling stations and sawmills and cotton gins and tobacco warehouses and on the sides of trucks and on roadside mailboxes and on miscellaneous roadside signs.”

His deep dive into the minutiae-packed pages of the Robesonian will stir nostalgia in anyone who has ever subscribed to a small-town paper.

Here’s an excerpt from a previous chapter in The New Yorker.


Lumbees give thumbs down to ‘Why I Am for Segregation’

On this day in 1958: Lumbee Indians, upset about two recent cross-burnings near their homes, break up a Ku Klux Klan rally in Robeson County. Klan leader James “Catfish” Cole planned to speak on “Why I Am for Segregation,” but the program is cut short by gunfire, firecrackers and teargas grenades thrown by sheriff’s deputies. One Klansman is charged with public drunkenness.

Life magazine gives the ruckus national attention with eight photos under the headline “Bad Medicine for Klan.”

Link dump doorbuster sale! (no stampede, please)

Surfboat is a-comin’.

— Was steamboat a-comin’ to white sand trail in Robeson County?

— Squirrel Nut Zippers pitch in for Cher.

— Remembering a black fireman‘s death in the line of duty in 1902.

Pop watch: Durham wrests fourth place from Winston.

— Jan Karon:  Mitford, R.I.P.