Front page of the June 25, 1896 issue of The Gastonia Gazette
Issues of The Gastonia Gazette from 1895 to 1904 have recently been transferred from microfilm to be available on DigitalNC for you to peruse. Thanks to this addition, our digital holdings for this title now span from 1893 to 1909.
The paper, “devoted to the protection of home and the interests of the county,” covers news from Gaston County and beyond. It features stories about individuals, administrative developments, local industry, and events of interest throughout the county (but particularly in Gastonia).
These issues are an addition to an already significant amount of materials from Gaston County, including many other newspaper titles from Gastonia.
The front page for the Charlotte Post in April 1984, with a huge variety of topics on display
More issues of the Charlotte Post, from January 1980 to December 1987, are now online at DigitalNC, courtesy of Johnson C. Smith University. This new batch of over 420 issues joins an additional 400 issues of the Charlotte Post that stretches from 1971 into 1996. Founded in 1878 as a weekly publication, it is still published today and services the residents of Charlotte as “The Voice of the Black Community.”
Looking through these papers, it is easy to see why the Charlotte Post has become such an enduring institution. In nearly every paper, the Post covers local politics, national news, local events of note and more. For example, on the front page of the April 1984 paper shown above, there are articles on a new City-County Government Center to be constructed, travel records for highway patrol officials, holiday plans for local churches, an interview with the 1984 Delta Sigma Theta sorority debutante, and more.
An article in July 1987 highlighting the number of black candidates running for office that fall.
This new batch gives us a more complete picture of the important issues that the Charlotte Post has covered in the past as an important fixture for Charlotte’s minority community. To learn more about Johnson C. Smith University, visit their partner page or their website.
The front page of the Laurinburg Exchange, dated April 1916. Topics include the local County Commencement, Passion Week and the local churches, and debate teams from local schools competing in Chapel Hill.
61 issues of The Laurinburg Exchange have been newly digitized and added to DigitalNC. These are the first issues from The Laurinburg Exchange to be added to our collection, covering dates and issues from August 1889 to December 1926. Published since 1882, The Laurinburg Exchange serves the readers of Laurinburg and Scotland County to this day. The Exchange joins two other newspapers in our collection that cover Scotland County: the student newspapers for Presbyterian Junior College and St. Andrews University.
A reading list for local high school students for the years 1924-1925.
Looking through these newspapers, many of the articles are about local issues concerning the citizens and residents of Scotland County. Municipal issues, like elections and political developments, were written about especially often. Some news from throughout the state was also posted in the Exchange. However, its coverage was mostly focused on local issues – at any moment, the paper might have been notifying residents of changes in their courts or new stocked items in local businesses, or for example, warning residents about a local fever outbreak. In the photo on the right, the Exchange published a list of required books and associated course prices for local high schoolers.
Adding The Laurinburg Exchange to our collection represents a new wealth of knowledge about the lives of ordinary North Carolinians at the turn of the 20th century.
Front page of the Bessemer City Messenger, dated May 25, 1895.
An issue of the Bessemer City Messenger has been newly digitized and added to DigitalNC. The issue is date May 25, 1895, making the Messenger one of the oldest newspapers we have on file. Unfortunately, not much else is known about this newspaper, including when it began or when it ended. This 1895 issue is only the second instance of the Messenger being preserved to this day. The only other copy of any issue known to exist is an 1892 edition held in the State Library of North Carolina in Raleigh, N.C.
Published out of Bessemer City, the Messenger served the residents of Gaston County during its circulation. Its articles take a distinctly Populist stance, celebrating Populist Party victories throughout the country in the early 1890s, while also arguing for greater distribution of wealth among workers and increased living conditions for children and women. A number of articles are also dedicated to trade protection, wheat production, manufacturing, and tariffs. For example, the article on the right is dedicated to the rapid expansion of cotton production mills in the South, with North Carolina being a particular spot for growth. While there were some notices of local events and local news among Gaston County and nearby towns in Cleveland County, the majority of this paper’s articles were dedicated to national or international events, creating an interesting dynamic when compared to other North Carolina papers of the time on our site.
Having the Bessemer City Messenger added to our collection is an invaluable resource when it comes to learning about the lives of North Carolinians in the late 1800s.
In 1894, Congress passed into federal law the national observance of Labor Day, a day of “rest and recreation” for the “laboring man” to reinforce his “honorable as well as useful place in the body politic.” Twenty-three states (North Carolina not among them) had already been celebrating a “labor day” in the years preceding 1894, and the tradition garnered enough Congressional attention to rise to the level of a federal holiday.
Because this tradition wasn’t broadly adopted in North Carolina until it became a federal holiday, most mentions in the state’s newspapers preceding 1894 report on other states’ celebrations like this clipping from the September 5, 1888 Daily Review out of Wilmington which warns of “red-handed and black-hearted Anarchists.”
From the Wilmington NC Daily Review
While we don’t see them as much today, parades were a near requirement of early Labor Days, with labor organizations creating floats and marching in celebration. The closing of businesses and a rest from all kinds of work were also a requirement. When North Carolina newspapers start mentioning the observance of Labor Day, there’s another recurring theme: Barbecue. One of the earliest examples we could locate, from 1907, talks about “a big barbecue and brunswick stew” served up at the fairgrounds in Raleigh.
From the Smithfield Herald
Barbecue (frequently FREE barbecue) continues to be mentioned as part of the main event. In 1912 Spencer had a “big barbecue” and a “big parade,” along with games, races, fireworks, and “a demonstration in motor plowing.”
From the Mebane Leader
We hope you’re celebrating Labor Day by resting from work and enjoying delicious barbecue or the North Carolina delicacy of your choice!