Archiving the Women’s March

Like many other repositories, the Southern Historical Collection is interested in collecting information about recent local protests in response to national events. We are partnering with the North Carolina Collection to make this happen for the Women’s March that took place on January 21, 2017.

We will be collecting a limited number of items in the following three categories: social media, ephemera (signs, flyers, hats, etc), and images. Because posts and tweets disappear quickly, we are beginning with social media. Stay tuned for information about donating “stuff” and images!

On archiving social media:

Over the last few years, we have turned more of our attention to methods of archiving social media. We can’t capture everything, so we prioritize documenting moments and movements–phenomena that produce dynamic but ephemeral concentrations of information.

This spreadsheet shows the hashtags and social media sites we are capturing and will be updated as needed. Please comment on Facebook or send us an email if you know of any widely-used, location-specific hashtags or pages that we have missed.

Continue reading “Archiving the Women’s March”

Soul City Film Screening Tonight on UNC-TV

Page of the Groundbreaking Ceremony Brochure from Soul City, NC, with a drawing of a cabin with faces of four people above it. Below is a imaginative description of the town and what it's goals are.
Page of the Groundbreaking Ceremony Brochure from Soul City, NC.

Soul City (Warren Co., NC) was established as a planned community in 1970s under the direction of civil rights leader Floyd B. McKissick. Disenchanted with the systemic suppression, poverty, and racism typical after migration to northern urban centers, he envisioned a “black owned, black built town” that offered families affordable housing, jobs, and healthcare. The project broke ground in 1973 with the help in $14 million in federal funding under the Urban Growth and New Community Development Act. The city quickly developed to include homes on spacious properties, industrial centers, paved roads, and water and sewerage systems; at its height, it was home to 200 people.

However, then-Senator Jesse Helms implemented a series of newspaper smear campaigns against the project, questioned the appropriate use of federal funds, and launched related governmental investigations. The active opposition of the state government and inadequate residential and employment achievements resulted in a complete withdrawal of federal funding in 1979. Without powerful private investors, the project could not continue as planned. McKissick’s children and several of the original residents still live in Soul City.

The documentary Soul City tells the story of the project through archival footage and interviews with residents, both past and present.

Watch the film tonight at 10 pm (EST) on UNC-TV. It can also be viewed here, through the UNC-TV site, for free until February 3rd.

In addition to the film, the story of Soul City has also been documented through oral history interviews, archival collections, and both popular and scholarly publications. Many of these resources are available online (see below).

Continue reading “Soul City Film Screening Tonight on UNC-TV”

Happy Halloween! Haunting North Carolina Ghost Stories

1376Preparing for Halloween around the SHC can get a little spooky! Wandering through Wilson Library’s dark and silent stacks may uncover some truly spine-tingling tales. The archive documents many stories that hold cultural importance for the South, including some creepy North Carolina ghost stories.

A journalist, and active University of North Carolina Alum, named John Harden, compiled records of well-known ghost stories from different areas in North Carolina. Out of these grew two books, Devil’s Tramping Ground and Tar Heel Ghosts. The tales tell chilling supernatural events from familiar North Carolina locations. In 1955, WUNC television produced some of these stories as short programs. From the script drafts and illustrations for these shows, I’ll summarize two of the spookiest stories for you, to set the mood for a truly spook-tacular Halloween!

Colonial Apparition

This truly hair rising tale is a sailors’ story of terrifying apparitions seen on a stormy sea near the appropriately named Cape Fear, North Carolina. Legend from the area tells of two Scotsmen who were executed by the British during the American Revolution, between Wilmington and Southport on the Cape Fear River. African-American superstition in the 19th century told of two ghostly apparitions appearing during storms at the same spot.

One evening a well-known Captain, Captain John M. Harper was sailing the haunted stretch of river between Wilmington and Southport. The weather started to turn stormy and cold. In the darkness, some of the men on his boat began recounting times during which these ghosts had been seen. One man suggested that the two ghosts were probably the Scotsmen looking for a ship to carry them home. As the wind and the rain got worse, one man on Captain Harper’s ship saw an apparition clutching the railing, with a beard encrusted in ice. The crewman tried to save him from falling overboard, but the man disappeared. Returning to the captain, he reported what he had seen.  To keep the men calm, Captain Harper began joking about how they should watch out for more ghosts.

As the weather grew worse they began passing the plantation where ghosts had been seen previously. All the crew grew more and more uneasy. A shrill shrieking sounded across the water from the direction of shore.  The screams began getting louder and louder coming from a spot where colonial ships used to anchor. An object began to take shape in the darkness, and an impossibly ancient, seaweed-covered barge appeared before them.

Colonial Apparition001

The Captain ordered the crew to help the barge. But no sooner had they begin to throw a line, than they saw two figures dressed in Scottish garb wrapped in chains on board. The ghostly figures reached toward Captain Harper’s ship. As soon as they tried to pull the rotting barge closer it was swallowed by the angry river waves.

As they continued down the river, they came upon another boat wrecked by the storm. On board were two weakened men who had been shouting for help, revealing the source of the earlier screaming. However, most of the crew remained convinced that some of the unearthly yelling originated from the phantom barge they saw in midst of the terrible storm.

A Haven for Ghosts

A North Carolina man built his dream home near the banks of the Yadkin River upon the foundation of an old tavern. On his first night in the new house he heard what sounded like digging outside. Thinking that the construction men returned to find something, he looked out the window and saw his empty yard. Yet while gazing out into the dark he still heard sounds indicating that there was digging. Concerned, since animals could not be making that noise, he went to look around his property. When he went to turn the bolt on the door– that he carefully locked before bed–he found it already unlocked. Gazing around the property, he saw no evidence of anyone having been near the house. He heard a noise coming from his basement and quickly entered the basement shouting, but no one was there. Determining to investigate more in the morning, he returned to his bedroom. Just as he was about to drift off to sleep he heard the sound of something heavy falling in the room. But when he turned on the light nothing was disturbed.

A haven for ghosts001

As this series of events continued each night with no physical evidence, he began inquiring about it to neighbors and others from the area. They told a tale of a traveler who was rumored to be wealthy. The traveler had stayed in the old tavern after the Civil War on his way home. He was stabbed by a group of thieves looking for his money and buried outside. The thieves, however, were unable to find any money and searched the cellar.  Months later a bag of gold fell from the rafters of the tavern, and many believed this to be the traveler’s money that the thieves were unable to turn up.

Though he was never able to rid himself of the noises in the house, the man began to unearth rumors that every structure built on the old foundation had always burned down, every so often.  A year after the man finished building his house he went on an infrequent trip out of town. When he returned he found that his brand new house had burned down to the original foundation, giving the blackened stones a fresh charcoal coating.

Feel free to check out more of these spooky stories documented in the John Harden Papers, found here in the Southern Historical Collection!

Source for these stories:
From Folders 1879-1897, In the John Harden Papers #4702, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Reginald A. Hawkins: North Carolina’s first African American gubernatorial candidatecan

“The establishment has discounted the poor, the black, the low-income and liberal whites. It had been divide and conquer. This is the dream I have for North Carolina: to bring us together, black and white…Too long have black people sought a place at the bargaining table, only to receive the crumbs after dinner is over.”

These were the words of Dr. Reginald Armistice Hawkins, given in a speech in 1968 as part of his campaign to become North Carolina’s governor.  Dr. Hawkins, a dentist and ordained Presbyterian minister from Charlotte, made history with his 1968 gubernatorial bid as he was the first African American in the history of the state to make a run for the office.

Today we feature this photograph, from the SHC’s Allard Lowenstein Papers (#4340), of Dr. Reginald Hawkins (at right) with Dr. Ralph David Abernethy, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.  This photograph is included in our current exhibit, “We Shall Not Be Moved: African Americans in the South, 18th Century to the Present,” on view until February 5, 2010.

Dr. Ralph David Abernethy (left) and Dr. Reginald Hawkins, from Allard Lowenstein Papers, #4340
Dr. Ralph David Abernethy (left) and Dr. Reginald A. Hawkins at a campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., 27 April 1968. Photograph from Allard Lowenstein Papers, SHC #4340.

Thirty Years Later: Remembering the Greensboro Massacre

Thirty years ago today, on November 3, 1979, the Workers Viewpoint Organization (later renamed the Communist Workers Party) sponsored an anti-Klan march and conference in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Members of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party attacked the demonstrators, killing five and injuring eleven Communist Workers Party members.

Greensboro_Civil_Rights_Fund_4630-002.jpg
Flyer from the Records of the Greensboro Civil Rights Fund, SHC #4630.

Family and friends of the deceased organized the Greensboro Civil Rights Fund, raising some $700,000 to prosecute the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party, as well as local and federal law enforcement agencies–whose undercover agents and paid informants in the Klan and Nazi Party allegedly participated in planning the attacks.

In 2004, around the time of the 25th anniversary of the Massacre, a Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission was impaneled by the Greensboro community in order to “examine ‘the context, causes, sequence and consequence of the events of November 3, 1979’ for the purpose of healing transformation for the community” (from the Commission’s mandate).  Over the course of nearly two years the commission sponsored public hearings, meetings, scholarly panels, interfaith religious services, and other community gatherings.  Their activities culminated in a lengthy report giving a set of conclusions and recommendations which they hoped would continue the process of reconciliation and map the way forward.  To quote their report,

We believe the truth and reconciliation process in Greensboro opened up the debate around Nov. 3, 1979, in a positive way and has successfully engaged a broad spectrum of the community in an effort that offers hope for reconciliation. As a Commission that looks a bit like Greensboro in microcosm, we found that this process –and our own struggle to hear and understand each other- had a profound impact on our perceptions of the issues we explored. Our individual and collective commitment to the truth helped us persevere. And the human stories and emotions we encountered along the way moved us to do our best to leave behind a legacy we hope will serve Greensboro for years to come. We cannot say what the future will hold for this community or what the long-term impact of this process will look like, but we hope that this process also serves as a learning tool for others in this country who, like Greensboro, are burdened by a legacy of hurt and inspired by the possibility of honestly coming to terms with their own history.

So today we honor the memories of those lost to the violence of the Greensboro Massacre, thirty years ago today.  We also honor the courage of the Greensboro community which sought to heal itself through the truth and reconciliation process.

And finally, we especially want to honor the life and work of Dr. John K. “Yonni” Chapman, a long-time and loyal supporter of the Southern Historical Collection.  On October 22, 2009, following a lengthy battle with a rare blood cancer, Yonni Chapman passed away at his home in Chapel Hill. Yonni Chapman was one of the anti-Klan demonstrators who survived the attack of November 3, 1979.  Later, he was involved in the truth and reconciliation process (his statement before the Commission is available here) and continued racial justice organizing in North Carolina for nearly three decades.

“Author to Author” Exhibit Features SHC Literary Correspondence

Examples of correspondence among some of the South’s best-known authors will be on display in the Southern Historical Collection on the fourth floor of UNC’s Wilson Library from Aug. 18 through Sept. 30.

The free, public exhibit, Author to Author: Literary Letters from the Southern Historical Collection, illuminates ties within the community of Southern writers during much of the twentieth century.

William Faulkner with arm around Milton Ab Abernethy, publisher of Contempo, in Chapel Hill, 1931. North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.
William Faulkner with arm around Milton "Ab" Abernethy, publisher of Contempo, in Chapel Hill, 1931. North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.

On view will be original letters by authors including Clyde Edgerton, Gail Godwin, Langston Hughes and Erskine Caldwell. Photographs from the Southern Historical Collection (SHC) will also be included.

The letters show how the authors built and maintained community by writing to one another, even as many of them moved far from the South.  The correspondence also reveals the support and motivation—and sometimes friendly competition—that the writers provided to one another.

The exhibit also highlights the complex relationships and strong personalities of the figures involved. A 1932 “cease and desist” letter from William Faulkner instructs the Chapel Hill literary magazine Contempo not to list Faulkner as an associate publisher; a photograph from the same period shows Faulkner hugging Contempo‘s publisher, Milton “Ab” Abernethy.

Author to Author adds depth to the larger Wilson Library exhibit Four from between the Wars: Paul Green, Thomas Wolfe, Robert Ruark, and Walker Percy, on view in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room on the third floor of Wilson Library through Sept. 30.

Both exhibits complement the North Carolina Literary Festival, hosted by the Library on the UNC campus Sept. 10-13.

Details:

Author to Author:
Literary Letters from the Southern Historical Collection

Fourth floor of Wilson Library
Aug. 18-Sept. 30, 2009
Free and open to the public
Exhibit information: Biff Hollingsworth, (919) 962-1345
In conjunction with the North Carolina Literary Festival, Sept. 10-13, 2009

Civil War sketches of Herbert E. Valentine

Herbert Eugene Valentine (1841-1917) was a private in Company F of the 23rd Massachusetts Volunteers, who served in the United States Army between 1861 and 1864 in eastern Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The SHC’s Herbert E. Valentine Papers contains a diary, pencil and watercolor sketches, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and maps, all contained in two manuscript volumes of Herbert E. Valentine. These volumes contain 184 sketches picturing towns, buildings, ships, bridges, fortifications, and everyday life at military bases. Valentine made birds eye view sketches of the towns in which he was stationed, as well as sketches of their principal buildings such as hospitals, churches, warehouses, and private residences that served as military command headquarters and as officers’ quarters. Locations with numerous sketches include Beaufort, Morehead City, and New Bern, N.C., and Hilton Head and Saint Helena Island, S.C. Seven color maps pertain to the operations of the 23rd Massachusetts Regiment in eastern North Carolina and Virginia.

We thought we’d share a few selections of these great Civil War sketches:

"Allison: Steamer" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Steamer Allison, October 13, 1862" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Broken Bridge: Over Broad Creek" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Broken Bridge: Over Broad Creek" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Convoy S. S." - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Convoy S. S." - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Chapel, Fort Monroe, Va., 1863" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Chapel, Fort Monroe, Va., 1863" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Pillow Fight" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Pillow Fight" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

Civil War sketches of Herbert E. Valentine

Herbert Eugene Valentine (1841-1917) was a private in Company F of the 23rd Massachusetts Volunteers, who served in the United States Army between 1861 and 1864 in eastern Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The SHC’s Herbert E. Valentine Papers contains a diary, pencil and watercolor sketches, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and maps, all contained in two manuscript volumes of Herbert E. Valentine. These volumes contain 184 sketches picturing towns, buildings, ships, bridges, fortifications, and everyday life at military bases. Valentine made birds eye view sketches of the towns in which he was stationed, as well as sketches of their principal buildings such as hospitals, churches, warehouses, and private residences that served as military command headquarters and as officers’ quarters. Locations with numerous sketches include Beaufort, Morehead City, and New Bern, N.C., and Hilton Head and Saint Helena Island, S.C. Seven color maps pertain to the operations of the 23rd Massachusetts Regiment in eastern North Carolina and Virginia.

We thought we’d share a few selections of these great Civil War sketches:

"Allison: Steamer" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Steamer Allison, October 13, 1862" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Broken Bridge: Over Broad Creek" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Broken Bridge: Over Broad Creek" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Convoy S. S." - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Convoy S. S." - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Chapel, Fort Monroe, Va., 1863" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Chapel, Fort Monroe, Va., 1863" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Pillow Fight" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397
"Pillow Fight" - from Herbert E. Valentine Papers, SHC #4397

Creators of the Month: John Charles Campbell and Olive D. Campbell

[Each month we feature a “creator” or one of the SHC’s manuscript collections. In archival terms, a creator is defined as an individual, group, or organization that is responsible for a collection’s production, accumulation, or formation.]

John Charles Campbell and Olive D. Campbell were missionary teachers in Appalachian Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama at the turn of the 20th Century.  John Campbell received a research grant from the Russell Sage Foundation to study the mountain regions of the South in 1909 and soon became an expert on the economic and social conditions of the Appalachians. He was secretary of Southern Highland Division of the Russell Sage Foundation in Asheville, N.C.; author of the Foundation’s survey of conditions in the Southern Appalachians; and organizer of the Conference of Southern Mountain Workers.

His wife, Olive Dame Campbell (1882-1954) traveled with her husband; founded and directed the John C. Campbell Folk School and related cooperatives at Brasstown, N.C.; and participated in the formation of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. While working with her husband, she collected mountain ballads and, after his death in 1919, prepared the report of his survey for publication.

Their collection gives a good look into life in Appalachia in the early 20th century.  Of particular interest, at least to me, are the volumes and the photographs.  Olive Campbell kept diaries of her trips to locations in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky.  In these diaries, she describes things such as the kinds of food she ate, the houses she went into, and the people that she met.

The photographs are divided into two groups: loose photographs and photograph albums.  The loose photographs are primarily images of John Campbell, Olive Campbell, and their families, as well as pictures of their students, their school, and trips that they took.  The photograph albums have pictures of Appalachian mountain scenery, students at the Campbell’s schools, and people both at work and at leisure.  In PA-3800/8, there is a “Photo-essay on illicit distilling operations in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee.”

The John Charles Campbell and Olive D. Campbell Papers are collection number 3800 in the Southern Historical Collection.

Historical marker to be placed in Raleigh today to remember a dark chapter in NC history

Image of Eugenics Board historical marker
Image of Eugenics Board historical marker

The Raleigh News & Observer reported yesterday that, “State officials are dedicating a historical marker to remember the forced sterilization program that affected thousands of people in North Carolina.” The North Carolina Highway Historical Marker contains a historical description of the North Carolina eugenics program that lasted from 1929 into the 1970s. About 7,600 people were sterilized in North Carolina during this period.

Recently, a state House panel approved a measure that would give $20,000 each to surviving victims of the eugenics program.  However, due to the state’s budget shortfalls of late, it is unclear if the state will have the $18.6 million dollars needed to enact the measure next year.

The historical marker will be dedicated today (Monday, June 22, at 5pm) at the N.C. Community Colleges building at 200 W. Jones Street in Raleigh. The ceremony will be attended by state leaders and several living victims of the program.

[Note: This difficult period in our state’s history is also the subject of a new digital project by the State Library of North Carolina.  The project features digitized material from the North Carolina Eugenics Board/Commission.]