New in the collection: Winston-Salem newsboy apron

Apron with words "Complete News Coverage, Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel"
This apron was likely intended for use on a Winston-Salem street corner, but it’s way too clean to have seen much action.

Frank Tursi, author of “Winston-Salem: A History,” doesn’t recall seeing one during his 23 years at the Journal but suggests they might also have been worn in the composing room.

 

New in the collection: Garners pepper sauce label

Though best known for Texas Pete hot sauce, concocted in 1929, the TW Garner Food Co. has produced a wide and oft-tweaked range of condiments. Among recent additions: Salsas and wing sauces.

Its minimalist pepper sauce has remained a staple, however. “When whole, green Tabasco peppers are soaked in vinegar and salt,” Garner promises, “the result is a tangy, spicy topping with flavor that’ll make you say ‘Heavens to Betsy!’ ”

Where would collards be without it?

Footnote: The four figures at the top of the label represent the company founders — Sam Garner and sons Thad, Ralph and Harold.

A word Winston-Salem won’t soon forget: bucolic

“The word ‘bucolic‘ has a powerful connotation in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. When RJ Reynolds Tobacco, a company that began and grew in Winston-Salem, bought Nabisco in the ’80s, its new head, F. Ross Johnson, moved the company headquarters to Atlanta, because it was ‘nouveau riche’ and Winston-Salem was too ‘bucolic.’

“ ‘Proud to be bucolic’  became a bumper sticker in Winston-Salem, which isn’t actually that bucolic, but the whole nasty business, chronicled in the book Barbarians at the Gate, became emblematic of the ’80s corporate frenzy to merge, fire people, extract capital and move to cities where CEOs could show off their multi-million-dollar salaries to each other.”

— From a letter to the A.Word.A.Day newsletter by Stephanie Lovett of Winston-Salem (Nov. 27)
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Politics said no, but J. Gordon Hanes Jr. said yes

[E.C. “Redge”] Hanes said…  what stuck with him was the example set by his father, J. Gordon Hanes  Jr., who presided over the merged Hanes Corporation’s substantial growth and also served as North Carolina state senator in the 1960s….

“One lesson that stood out was when his father, as state senator, sued the county to force a park to integrate. It had been willed to Winston-Salem for white residents by a descendant of R.J. Reynolds, the tobacco magnate, with the stipulation that any challenge would prompt the park to revert to the family.

“ ‘It wasn’t a good political move, but he said it was the right move,’ Mr. Hanes said. His father was subsequently voted out of office.”

— From “What the Most Fortunate Learn During the Holiday Season: From the Likes of the Roosevelts and the Haneses, Family Lessons Gleaned” by Paul Sullivan in the New York Times (Dec. 26)

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Maya Angelou: ‘And that’s how I write books!’

Noah Charney: I’ve read of some eccentric writing habits of yours, involving hotel rooms without pictures on the walls, sherry, and headgear. How did you first come upon that cocktail for writing success, and has the routine evolved over your career?

Maya Angelou: And headgear! Ha! It was head ties, not headgear! Well, I was married a few times, and one of my husbands was jealous of me writing. When I write, I tend to twist my hair. Something for my small mind to do, I guess. When my husband would come into the room, he’d accuse me, and say, “You’ve been writing!” As if it was a bad thing. He could tell because of my hair, so I learned to hide my hair with a turban of some sort.

I do still keep a hotel room in my hometown [Winston-Salem] and pay for it by the month. I go around 6:30 in the morning. I have a bedroom, with a bed, a table, and a bath. I have Roget’s Thesaurus, a dictionary, and the Bible.

Which edition of the Bible?

Uh—that’s a good question, it’s slipped my mind. Name a famous edition.

The King James?

That’s the one!

Anything else in the hotel room?

Usually a deck of cards and some crossword puzzles. Something to occupy my little mind. I think my grandmother taught me that. She didn’t mean to, but she used to talk about her “little mind.” So when I was young, from the time I was about 3 until 13, I decided that there was a Big Mind and a Little Mind. And the Big Mind would allow you to consider deep thoughts, but the Little Mind would occupy you, so you could not be distracted. It would work crossword puzzles or play Solitaire, while the Big Mind would delve deep into the subjects I wanted to write about.

So I keep the room. I have all the paintings and any decoration taken out of the room. I ask the management and house-keeping not to enter the room, just in case I’ve thrown a piece of paper on the floor, I don’t want it discarded. About every two months I get a note slipped under the door: “Dear Ms. Angelou, please let us change the linen. We think it may be moldy!” But I’ve never slept there, I’m usually out of there by 2. And then I go home and I read what I’ve written that morning, and I try to edit then. Clean it up. And that’s how I write books!

— From “Maya Angelou: How I Write” by at Daily Beast (April 10, 2013)

Angelou, Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University since 1981, is most recently the author of the memoir  “Mom & Me & Mom.” 

 

‘Stout, healthy children need constant employment’

“Fanatics and politicians are out of line…. Children are very serviceable in tobacco factories as stemmers, and it don’t hurt them. In fact, they need employment to keep them out of mischief. Stout, healthy children need constant employment, and the unhealthy ones do not stay in a factory long ….

“We are opposed to any legislation on the labor question as we think it will regulate itself.”

— From a letter to North Carolina labor commissioner B. R. Lacy from Winston-Salem tobacco manufacturer Bailey Bros. (1899)

Four years later the state prohibited children under 12 from working in factories, but the law was rarely enforced, as evidenced in Lewis Hine’s 1908 photos of Gaston County.

 

When Jim Crow cost him workers, Reynolds fought back

“In 1913, tobacco worker William Darnell, attempting to build a house on a corner lot at Eleventh Street and Highland Avenue, was arrested because he was black and all the other residents on the street were white. The legal case that ensued [challenging Winston-Salem’s residential segregation law]  speaks to the behind-the-scenes power of R.J.R. to override Jim Crow when it served the company’s own interests….

“When the jury returned a verdict of guilty, [Darnell’s R.J.R-allied lawyers] immediately appealed….  Although the law was clearly on the side of prosecutors, Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Clark overruled the decision…  in an effort to encourage African Americans to stay in Winston [rather than seeking jobs in the North]… citing the Irish exodus from Great Britain and Jewish emigration from Russia….”

— From “Katharine and R. J. Reynolds: Partners of Fortune in the Making of the New South” by Michele Gillespie (2012)

 

Winston-Salem’s most boorish guest ever?

“Disappointed by soft ticket sales for an exhibition game against the Green Bay Packers, [Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall] called the host city of Winston-Salem… a ‘lousy town.’

“Stung by the criticism, the Rotary Club invited him to take a tour of the city. He accepted, only to ridicule  the R. J. Reynolds tobacco factory, the Western Electric plant and the airport and people who enjoyed flying. At an underwear plant, he said: ‘I haven’t worn an undershirt in 25 years. Only wear shorts. Guess I cut your business in half.’

” ‘Winston-Salem turned the other cheek to critic George Preston Marshall,’ wrote the Winston-Salem Journal, ‘and he managed to slap it too.’ ”

— From “Showdown: JFK and the Integration of the Washington Redskins” by Thomas G. Smith (2011)

For entirely different reasons, Packers Coach Vince Lombardi had his own ill feelings toward Winston-Salem, where the teams played an annual exhibition 1955-60.

 

Winston-Salem’s ‘reluctant millionaires,’ Part 2

“Free from the grip of Northern interlopers [after the 1911 breakup of the tobacco trust], Mr. RJ began force-feeding Reynolds stock to employees. … Never mind that many didn’t want to go into hock….As the value of Reynolds stock ballooned in coming years, Winston-Salem came to be known as ‘the city of reluctant millionaires.’…

“[After the 1989 buyout by KKR] the world’s greatest concentration of RJR shareholders [wasn’t] thanking [departing CEO F. Ross] Johnson even as the money gushed into town.  Nearly $2 billion of checks arrived there in the late-February mail….  The river of money had washed away the last of RJR’s stock. Local brokers and bankers who managed people’s money got calls from distraught clients. ‘I won’t sell my stock,’ more than one sobbed. ‘Daddy said don’t ever sell the RJR stock.’ They were patiently told they had to. They were told the world had changed.”

— From “Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco” by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar (1990)

Winston-Salem’s little ‘puddle jumper’ that could

On this day in 1948: Piedmont Airlines, headquartered in Winston-Salem, inaugurates passenger service with a DC-3 flight from Wilmington to Charlotte to Cincinnati.

Over the next four decades Piedmont will grow from what competitors dismiss as a “puddle jumper” to the nation’s eighth largest airline. In 1987 Piedmont is bought by Washington-based USAir [later US Airways] for $1.6 billion.

Pictured: Pinback button promoting Piedmont’s new flights from Charlotte to London Gatwick in 1987; plastic badge for child passengers; pinback button promoting Piedmont’s in-state Florida shuttle service, circa 1985.