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Posts Tagged ‘digital collections’

The “Greensboro Four” at Woolworth’s. Photo from the (Greensboro) News & Record.

Fifty-six years ago today four students, now known as the “Greensboro Four,” sat down at the lunch counter at the Woolworth’s Department Store in downtown Greensboro and asked to be served. They were refused service, launching a sit-in movement that would spread throughout North Carolina and the South and transform the struggle for civil rights for African Americans.

The first page of a March 1960 memo describing Hodges' constitutional authority in law enforcement.

The first page of March 1960 memo describing Hodges’ constitutional authority in law enforcement.

Several documents available online through the North Carolina Digital Collections show how North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges and other state officials responded to the situation and demonstrate how public opinion was divided over the protests.

The Response from State Officials

The first—a public statement made by state attorney general Malcom B. Seawell on February 10, 1960—argues that though North Carolina did not have a law mandating the segregation of restaurants, businesses could refuse to serve whoever they choose.

Seawell calls the protesters as out-of-state “trouble-makers” and describes their actions as having:

posed and continue to pose a serious threat to the peace and good order in the communities in which they occur…Such trouble-makers are irresponsible, and their actions can only result in irreparable harm being done to racial relations here in North Carolina.

He also argues that the colleges which student protesters attend should work to curb their student actions, a sentiment Hodges later echoed in a phone conversation with a Woolworth’s executive.

Two memos—one laying out the governor’s constitutional authority to deal with the sit-in demonstrations and another describing the actions of governors in other states in similar situations—were immediately followed by a statement Hodges made on March 10 where he expressed his view on the sit-ins, saying:

…I do not think these demonstrations do any good or in the final analysis will even serve to accomplish the objectives of the demonstrators….I have no sympathy whatsoever for any group of people who deliberately engage in activities which any reasonable person can see will result in a breakdown of law and order as well as interference with the normal and proper operation of a private business.

A letter to Gov. Luther Hodges opposing the sit-in protesters.

A letter to Gov. Luther Hodges opposing the sit-in protesters.

The Public’s View

Four letters sent to Hodges’ office on the sit-ins reflect how divided the state’s citizens were on the issue.

A Burlington couple called on Hodges to close N.C. A&T and save what they viewed as wasted taxpayer money, while a Durham woman wrote that the demonstrations were “disgusting” and said that many of the protesters were “from the North.”

On the other side of the debate, a UNC-Chapel Hill student penned a note to express solidarity with the sit-in demonstrators and an ECU student rebuked the governor for not promoting freedom and free expression for all.

More to Explore

The papers described here are part of a larger Civil Rights digital collection that helps tell the story of the struggle for justice in North Carolina. An online exhibit from the N.C. Museum of History tells that story in another way.

A succinct overview of the Civil Rights movement can be found as NCpedia as can dozens of other in-depth articles on the subject.

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A look inside the tobacco barn at the State Fair.

A look inside the tobacco barn at the State Fair.

Late last week, teams of three squared off in what has become an annual State Fair tradition—Duke Homestead’s Tobacco Looping Contest.

The contest highlights what was once a common chore on farms across North Carolina: farmers tied tobacco onto sticks and loaded them into barns, where the crop was cured.  The practice largely fell by the wayside in the mid-20th century as technology improved and tobacco began to be cured in a bulk barn in large containers.

Things to See and Do This Year

The contest also kicks off a host of activities that we’re proud to present at the fair to help you explore our state’s history and heritage. Here are three things to be sure you see on your visit to the fair this year:

  • Explore a working tobacco barn in the Heritage Circle area, managed by Duke Homestead and the N.C. Tobacco Growers Association. You can take a peek at the curing process if you visit during the week, or see the finished product if you stop by on the weekend.
A visitor learns about historic military uniforms after our 2014 revue.

A visitor learns about historic military uniforms after our 2014 revue.

  • Discover the Tar Heel State’s connections to World War I at an exhibit we’ve created in the north lobby of Dorton Arena. You’ll see how the fairgrounds were used a training center and learn more about the how the Great War impacted North Carolina.
  • See interpreters portraying soldiers from throughout American history during the Military Appreciation Parade and our 2nd annual historical uniform revue at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, Wednesday.
  • Experience a mock tobacco auction in the Heritage Circle area Friday at 2 p.m. Though now largely replaced by contracts between tobacco companies and farmers, tobacco auctions were once the center of the economic and social life of many rural North Carolina communities.

A horticultural exhibit at the 1910 State Fair featuring apples
and other fruit. Image from the State Library.

Explore State Fair History from the Comfort of Your Home

Even if you’re not a regular to the N.C. State Fair, you can’t argue that the annual event is part of our state’ rich culture and that it has a deep history. To commemorate those deep roots and help you explore them, the State Archives and State Library offer several great resources:

  • Blue Ribbon Memories: Your History of the N.C. State Fair, is an online exhibit that showcases photographs, premium lists, newspapers clippings and other materials available on our State Fair Ephemera Digital Collection and allows fairgoers to share memories of their own State Fair experiences.
  • Two videos from the State Archives, posted here and here, show the fair as visitors saw it in the 1940s and 1960s, respectively.

Happy exploring! We hope to see you out there at this great North Carolina tradition.

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Schools across North Carolina and out and summer has been here officially for a week. There are so many great things to see and do over the coming season that we decided to put together a list of 10 things that are on our agenda for the summer:

1. Discover North Carolina’s rich history of film and television production at the N.C. Museum of History’s Starring, North Carolina! exhibit. The museum is running a Starring, North Carolina! summer special, with all tickets marked down 50%.
MoH-Summer
2. Try to strike it rich by panning for gold at Reed Gold Mine in Midland.
Reed-Summer
3. Take a look back at the Tar Heel vacations of yesteryear through photos and videos made available online by the State Archives. The Outer Banks History Center’s Flickr site, the Travel and Tourism Digital Collection and the State Archives’ Travel and Tourism Videos playlist are three great places to start your search.
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4. Stop by one of our historic sites or museums near your beach house or on the way to it.
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5. See a movie or concert under the stars at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.
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6. Attend a summer arts or music festival or watch an outdoor drama. The N.C. Arts Council has a great list of the not-to-miss events.
7. Add a North Carolina novel or work of non-fiction to your summer reading list.
Reading-Summer
8. Check out I DO! Weddings in the Albemarle, 1831-2015, a new exhibit at the Museum of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City.
MoA-Summer
9. Beat the heat and cool off in the air conditioning at one of our nine art and history museums across the state.
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10. Step aboard President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train when it makes its only stop in the Southeast at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer August 29 and 30.
NCTM-Summer

Check out the summer section of our newly-redesigned website for more tips on experiencing authentic North Carolina arts, history and culture this summer. Happy exploring!

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It’s the first day of spring and we’re excited! It’s been a pretty rough winter across the Tar Heel State, and if you’re feeling as stir crazy as we are, you’re ready to get out there and celebrate the coming of the warmer weather with all of the best that North Carolina has to offer.

Here’s what’s on our spring bucket list. What’s on yours?

nctm-spring-list1. Jump on board the Easter Bunny Express at the N.C. Transportation Museum.

No one signals the arrival of spring quite like the Easter Bunny. And during the next couple of weeks, he’ll be offering special train rides at the N.C. Transportation Museum that your kids won’t want to miss. In addition to train rides, your family can also have breakfast with the big bunny and go on an Easter egg hunt at the museum on select days.

 

This free online course from the State Library and Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest will introduce beginners to the basics of the family history research, while offering pros a chance to take part in the teaching process and share their love for family history with others. Spring is a great time for a new project, make genealogy yours!

 

bville-spring-list3. Experience a Civil War living history program.

North Carolina’s largest Civil War re-enactment will take place this weekend at Bentonville Battlefield in Four Oaks, but the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of Civil War won’t stop there. We have a number of programs planned through the rest of the season.

 

tryon-spring-list4. Visit the beautiful gardens at Tryon Palace.

The gardens at Tryon Palace represent the wide array of landscapes you’d see on larger estates during the 18th and 19th centuries. From the grandeur of the formal Maude Moore Latham Garden to the natural Wilderness Garden and the practical Kitchen Garden, there’s so much to explore.

 

library-b-spring-list5. Explore past issues of Wildlife in North Carolina magazine.

In print since 1937, Wildlife in North Carolina is the official educational publication of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The magazine features a stunning collection of nature photography perfect for the season, and thanks to the hard the work of the State Library, you can read more than 700 issues online for free.

 

science-spring-list6. See the science behind some of state’s most fascinating history.

From an overview of the engineering that makes Vollis Simpson’s whirligigs work to a look at the cutting edge technology used to conserve artifacts from the wreck of the Blackbeard’s flagship, several of our historic sites, museums and other venues are teaming up with the N.C. Science Festival this April to show you the interesting intersections of history and science.

 

arts-spring-list7. Try out a new North Carolina arts experience.

From annual music festivals like MerleFest and Moogfest to the start of the run of the many of North Carolina’s outdoor dramas, there are so many great experiences across the Tar Heel State in the springtime. Check out the N.C. Arts Council’s cultural trails for some inspiration.

 

ncma-spring-list8. Take a stroll in the N.C. Museum of Art’s Museum Park.

If you saw our fall bucket list, you probably know that we recommended the park then, too. But the truth is that there’s really no bad to time to visit this 160-acre Raleigh gem. As part of its inaugural Art in Bloom festival this weekend, the museum will be offering several great programs, both inside and out.

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The temperatures and dropping outside and before you know it cabin fever will begin to set in. Fight off the boredom of being stuck inside with these five great digital resources we have to offer:
 
1. The Our State Magazine Digital Collection, where you can explore issues of one of North Carolina’s premiere publications dating back to 1933 any time for free.
 
Our State Digital Collection
 
2. Our This Day in North Carolina History Project, which tells some of most interesting (and bizarre) tales from our state’s past, including the story of North Carolina’s “Year Without a Summer” in 1816.
 
This Day in N.C. History
 
3. The State Archives Flickr site, where you can find nearly 7,000 images of everything from Civil War battles to snake handlers in Durham and beyond, including some great historical shots of snow.
 
State Archives Flickr
 
4. NCpedia, an online encyclopedia about all things North Carolina.
 
NCpedia
 
5. The State Library’s ExploreNC topic guides, which provide a centralized list of resources on a number of different topics including weather.
 
ExploreNC
 
Enjoy the weather, and stay warm!

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February is Black History Month, and there’s so much to do across the Tar Heel State to celebrate. Here are eight things we have on our bucket list this month that you should try, too:

1. Step back in time to and “meet” a few members of North Carolina’s 1868 first black caucus at the State Capitol in Raleigh.

 

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2. Discover North Carolina’s rich African American music tradition with the African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina.

 

AFAM-Trails

 

3. Browse through the hundreds of photographs, bible records, genealogies, legal documents and other primary materials related to African American life and civil rights available online through the North Carolina Digital Collections.

 

Children_picking_cotton

 

4. Visit one of the several state historic sites that have strong African American stories to tell.

 

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5. Explore the work of Minnie Evans, Romare Bearden and other noted African American artists at the N.C. Museum of Art.

 

BEARDEN, New Orleans Ragging Home, 95_3

 

6. Take a tour of Historic Edenton as seen through the eyes of well-known abolitionist and author Harriet Jacobs.

 

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7. Get a broad overview or dive deep into a specific topic of African American history in North Carolina with a book from North Carolina Historical Publications.

 

publications

 

8. Discover the stories of your African American ancestors with an index of online resources and workshop offered by the State Library.

 

 

Be sure and check out the Black History Month page on our website for more great resources and events related to Black History Month.

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