Posts Tagged ‘State Archives’

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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A genealogy workshop in Raleigh, a celebration of model trains in Spencer and demonstrations of historic tatting in Pineville are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend across North Carolina.

Here are seven things on our weekend agenda:

1. Discover how you can use materials from the State Archives and State Library during a workshop in Raleigh Saturday.



2. Join the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer Saturday and Sunday for a celebration of model trains.



3. Participate in a hands-on demonstration of the historic art of tatting Saturday at the President James K. Polk Historic Site in Pineville.



4. Explore the history of Southport by bike during a tour led by the N.C. Maritime Museum there Saturday.



5. Watch a movie about space under the stars at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh. The museum will be showing 2001: A Space Odyssey Friday and Interstellar Saturday.



6. Experience one of the many outdoor dramas offered across the state before the summer ends.



7. See what life was like at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson in Winnabow during the colonial and Civil War periods during the site’s Living History Saturday program.



Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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A streetcar that operated in Charlotte during the 1800s (above), compared to the one that began service today (below). Images from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission and Charlotte Observer, respectively.

Earlier today, Charlotte inaugurated the CityLYNX Gold Line, its first streetcar service in 77 years.

Though the service is being heralded as a new innovation for transportation and economic development, it’s not the first time the vehicles have been seen on North Carolina streets.

The Tar Heel State’s first streetcars were horse-drawn and began operating in Wilmington and Raleigh in the mid to late 1880s. The first electrified system made its debut in Asheville in 1889, and similar networks quickly cropped up in Durham, Greensboro, High Point, Raleigh, Salisbury, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.

Charlotte’s system got its start in January 1887 as a horse-drawn operation, and was electrified in 1981 after prominent businessman Edward Latta collaborated with other entrepreneurs to make the leap. At its peak the system carried 2 million passengers annually on 29 miles of track and 50 passenger cars.

The Charlotte Trolley on loan to the N.C. Transportation Museum.
Image from Trains Magazine.

A historic trolley car that was built in World War I, originally used in Athens, Greece’s system and then imported for use on Charlotte’s heritage trolley line is now on loan to the N.C. Transportation Museum where it is being repaired. You can get a peek of it just about any day in the Back Shop, but the best time to see it is when it’s brought out for view during the museum’s special events.


Streetcars on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, crica May 1909. Image PhC.68.1.98 from Carolina Power & Light Collection of the State Archives.

Visit the N.C. Transportation Museum’s website for a more detailed history of the vehicle’s connections to the Old North State.

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An annual celebration of wooden boats in Beaufort, a film festival in Raleigh and vintage motorcycles on display in Spencer are just of the few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Here are 10 suggestions to help you make the most of your limited time:

1. Join the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort for displays of historic vessels, educational activities and boatbuilding displays as part of its 41st Annual Wooden Boat Show throughout the weekend.



2. Experience stories of the Tar Heel State’s past and present as told through film Saturday at the N.C. Museum of History’s inaugural Longleaf Film Festival Saturday in Raleigh.



3. Delve into the stories of the women of Hatteras Island Saturday at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum as part of the Hatteras Storytelling Festival.



4. Hear about the history behind Civil War monuments Saturday at the Museum of Albemarle in Elizabeth City.



5. Learn how you can use online resources for genealogical research Saturday at the State Library in Raleigh.



6. Enjoy the moving sound of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and other American masterworks as performed by the N.C. Symphony throughout the weekend in WilmingtonSouthern Pines, New Bern and Raleigh.



7. Ride into the past at the N.C. Transportation Museum’s Carolina Classic Motorcycle Show Saturday in Spencer.



8.  Take a musical journey through North Carolina’s sights, sounds and culture Sunday during a concert at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.



9. Explore the connections between modern and contemporary art during a panel discussion at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem Thursday in Winston-Salem.



10. Celebrate the first Friday of May with half off admission to N.C. Museum of History’s Starring, North Carolina! exhibit in Raleigh.



Check out DCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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Members of the Latham’s Battery re-enacting group in the front of the
North Carolina Monument at Appomattox Court House.

As the nation commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War surrender at Appomattox Court House earlier this month, several DCR staff members were on hand to mark the occasion and remember North Carolina’s role in the landmark event.

Supervisor of Historical Research Michael Hill and Head of the State Archives’ Microfilm Imaging Unit Chris Meekins joined re-enactors from the Latham’s Battery group, which is based out of North Carolina, for a ceremony at our state’s monument to honor the troops who served there.

The North Carolina Monument at Appomattox shown from a distance.

The North Carolina Monument at Appomattox show from a distance.The monument marks the point of the last advance made by North Carolina troops at the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. That last advance is one of the origins of the popular phrase “First at Bethel, Farthest to the Front at Gettysburg and Chickamauga, and Last at Appomattox,” popularly used throughout much of the early 20th century to describe North Carolina’s role in the Civil War.

The monument, which honors the more than 5,000 North Carolina troops that were paroled at the Appomattox surrender, was dedicated in 1905 by a delegation that included then Governor Robert Brodnax Glenn.

The ceremony comes not only as we remember the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, but also as the Museum of the Albemarle opens an exhibit exploring the monuments that cropped up across North Carolina after the close of the conflict and a recent acquisition by the State Archives that highlights a company of Tar Heels present at Appomattox.

More images of the monument ceremony are available on our Flickr site.

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North Carolina is blessed with 10 national parks. From the majestic peaks of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the west to the softs sands of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks, there’s so much to see and do, and so much history behind the Tar Heel State’s federally protected places.

To celebrate National Parks Week, here are 10 items from our collections related to North Carolina’s national parks:

1. A 1952 brochure for Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in Manteo



Item S.HS.2006.8.4 from the collection of North Carolina Historic Sites


2. Goggle fishing at the Cape Lookout National Seashore, circa August 1939



Image ConDev2307L from the Conservation and Development Department,
Travel and Tourism Division photo files of the State Archives


3. Stopping at the Mount Mitchell Turnout on the Blue Ridge Parkway, circa June 1945



Image ConDev5080A from the Conservation and Development Department,
Travel and Tourism Division photo files of the State Archives


4. A 1781 drawing of the Quaker community around the Guilford Courthouse battlefield



Sketch from the Genealogy Collection of the State Library


5. A Navy blimp and Army helicopter at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, circa 1950



Image from the David Stick Collection of the Outer Banks History Center


6. Carl Sandburg gets a visit at Connemara, now the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site in Flat Rock



Item H.1952.63.54 from the N.C. Museum of History’s collection


7. Surf fishing at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore with the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in the background, circa 1956



Image PhC68_1_15 from Carolina Power and Light (CP&L)
Photograph Collection 
of the State Archives


8. A 1948 postcard from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park



Image PhC_120_3_19 from the Miscellaneous Postcard Collection
of the State Archives


9. A 1965 North Carolina travel guide featuring Fontana Lake, which is skirted in part by the Appalachian Trail



Item H.1982.88.2 from the N.C. Museum of History’s collection


10. A plate commemorating the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge



Item H.2008.59.12 from the N.C. Museum of History’s collection


Explore more materials related to North Carolina’s national parks and a wide array of other subjects on the State Archives’ Flickr site, North Carolina Digital Collections and our collections database.

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