Posts Tagged ‘State Library’

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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Last Friday, we debuted a GIF that showed the formation of North Carolina counties. You all seemed to love it, but also gave us some great feedback about slowing the speed down and adding the ability to pause.

We’ve cut the frame speed in half to give you a better view (available below and on our website) and also posted a version of the animation on our YouTube channel to enable you to pause, if that’s something you’re interested in.

As you watch this interestomh transformation, you might notice that some of the places listed on the map at certain points now longer exist. Here’s what happened to them:

  • Albemarle County was divided into Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank and Perquimans precincts in 1668, and ceased to exist the next year when each of those precincts became its own county.
  • Bath County, which was formed in 1696, suffered a similar fate in 1705, when the three precincts it was divided into became Beaufort, Craven and Hyde Counties (Beaufort County was originally called Pamtecough).
  • Organized by the Lords Proprietors around the mouth of the Cape Fear River in 1664, by 1667 Clarendon County was abandoned. Since it predated 1700, this name actually doesn’t appear in the animation, but we wanted to make sure it was mentioned.

A section of a 1775 map of North Carolina showing Dobbs County.
Image from the State Archives.

The remaining four defunct counties were all eliminated or had their names changed because the people they were named after became unpopular.

  • Since former royal governor William Tryon was serving as a British officer at the time, area citizens petitioned the General Assembly to divide Tryon County into Lincoln and Rutherford Counties in 1779.
  • Many North Carolinians blamed Bute County’s namesake, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, personally for the 1765 Stamp Act, so by 1779 it was divided into Franklin and Warren Counties.

Don’t forget to visit the DNCR website and NCpedia to learn more about North Carolina’s unique places.

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A 1923 map showing North Carolina's counties created by the U.S. Geological Survey and now held by the State Archives.

A 1923 map showing North Carolina’s counties created by the U.S. Geological Survey and now held by the State Archives.

North Carolina is known for its varied people and places. While researching a post for our This Day in North Carolina history about Avery County, the last county in the Tar Heel State to be formed, we got curious: how did those boundaries evolve over time? Where did some of those unique names come from?

Luckily, there’s a wonderful book on the subject, David Leroy Corrbit’s 1950 work The Formation of North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943. The book, now in in sixth printing, discusses the boundary changes in painstaking detail and also features some neat drawings that visually show the evolution.

Inspired by the Digital Public Library of America’s amazing GIF IT UP contest that ended last month, we took the drawings in Corbitt’s book, originally done by L. Polk Denmark; added some highlights; and made a GIF of our own, illustrating the changes in the Tar Heel State’s internal boundaries.

Check it out below:



(See a Larger Version of This GIF)


If you’re interested in learning more about North Carolina geography, NCpedia has a host of great resources, including an overview of each county and the entire North Carolina Gazetteer online for free. Corbitt’s book, available for sale from our Historical Publications Section and at a local library near you, is great, too.

We’ve also added a new page on our website aggregating these and other great resources our agency produces related to North Carolina places all in one location. Happy exploring!

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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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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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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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