Digital North Carolina Blog

Digital North Carolina Blog

This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from institutions across North Carolina.

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Viewing entries posted in September 2019


John Graham High School yearbooks now online, thanks to Warren County Memorial Library

Photograph of the front of a brick school building

8 yearbooks from John Graham High School in Warrenton, NC are now online, thanks to partner Warren County Memorial Library. The yearbooks span the years 1947 to 1969 and provide a glimpse into the lives of high-schoolers in the northern portion of North Carolina. The school integrated in 1966 and the yearbooks from 1967, 1968, and 1969 show the newly integrated population of the school.

John Graham High School was originally the Warrenton Male Academy, one of the first schools in the state, which opened in 1786.  In 1897, the school changed it’s name to Warrenton High School and in the early 1900s became coeducational.  The school later became public and was known as John Graham High School, after the man who took over the school in 1897.  John Graham High School during the 1900s was the white school in Warrenton, while John R. Hawkins High School was the black school.  During integration, the students of Hawkins High School were moved to John Graham High School.  John Graham’s last graduating class was in 1981.  After that, the school transitioned to a middle school and the high-schoolers moved to the new Warren County High School building.  Several well known graduates have come from John Graham High School, including Frank Porter Graham, who became a US Senator and president of UNC and R.B. House, the first chancellor of UNC-Chapel Hill.  

To view more materials from Warren County Memorial Library, visit their partner page here and to learn more about the library itself, visit their website here. To see more high school yearbooks, visit our North Carolina Yearbooks collection.


More of The Children’s Friend and The Orphan’s Friend are now online, thanks to the Grand Lodge of North Carolina!

The Children's Friend, January 6, 1875

The Children’s Friend, January 6, 1875

Over 100 new issues of The Children’s Friend and The Orphan’s Friend are now available on DigitalNC, thanks to our partners at the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina. Both published for an orphanage in Oxford, North Carolina, The Children’s Friend was in print from January to May 1975, and The Orphan’s Friend succeeded it until May 1895. DigitalNC already hosted The Orphan’s Friend from 1876 and 1877, and this addition expands that range to include issues from 1875 and 1883. This batch also includes all known issues of The Children’s Friend from 1875.

Despite being written for an audience of children, the issues are text-heavy. However, their contents definitely relate to news and issues of interest to children or teens, such as stories, lessons, and updates about local or national happenings. The following are clippings which illustrate the variety of materials included in these newspapers:

"The Origin of Newspapers," The Children's Friend, May 5, 1875

“The Origin of Newspapers,” The Children’s Friend, May 5, 1875

 

"Miscellaneous," The Orphan's Friend, March 7, 1883

“Miscellaneous,” The Orphan’s Friend, March 7, 1883

Click here to browse all issues of The Children’s Friend, and here for all issues of The Orphan’s Friend. DigitalNC is grateful to the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina for their partnership in making these papers accessible. To learn more about the Grand Lodge, visit their partner page here, or their website here.


Flooded: Oral Histories Documenting Hurricane Floyd Now Online

Flooded book cover with a color image of a mailbox surrounded by water

We’ve recently worked with Braswell Memorial Library (Rocky Mount, N.C.) to digitize oral histories, written stories, and a manuscript all created for the book Flooded: Reflections of Hurricane Floyd. Compiled by the Friends of Braswell Library, Flooded represents the culmination of an effort to document what happened in Nash and Edgecombe counties twenty years ago today. On September 16, 1999 Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina and caused catastrophic flooding throughout the eastern part of the state. Fatalities, displaced families, and property loss marked its passing.

The collection includes interviews with and stories from firefighters and other emergency personnel, city officials, and residents. Many of the interviews include both audio and a transcript. You will also find the original copies of stories included within Flooded, as well as a pre-print version of the book.

Thanks to Braswell Memorial Library and its Friends group for bringing this collection for digitization. Explore the entire Flooded collection or all of the materials we’ve digitized for Braswell Memorial Library.

 


Earliest NC African American Newspapers Added to DigitalNC

Today’s post is the result of a chance quote and a successful collaboration. We’re pleased to add to DigitalNC the earliest newspaper published by and for North Carolina African Americans – the Fayetteville Educator along with another early African American newspaper, the Charlotte Messenger.

Mastheads for the first issues of the Educator and Messenger

The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s partners have shared a really robust collection of African American papers, and we’re always searching for more. In addition to what’s on DigitalNC, we’re familiar with other well known early papers like the Star of Zion – one of the oldest (1876) as well as the longest continuously running paper in the state. On DigitalNC you’ll find another early paper, the National Savings Bank. Published in 1868, the paper featured advertising and news related to the banking industry. It was published for African Americans from a number of locations around the U.S., including New Bern. The content is mostly syndicated across all of its issues and it was intended for a national audience.

Engraving, head and shoulders view, of William C. Smith

An engraving of William C. Smith from Penn’s The Afro-American press and its editors.

Earlier this year, while reading about African American newspaper editor, William C. Smith, we ran across this quote:

He was one of the founders of The Fayetteville Educator, the first newspaper edited and published by colored men in North Carolina.*

The Educator wasn’t a paper we had run across before. After a few inquiries, we found two institutions who were familiar with the paper. The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte has been stewarding original copies of the Educator – possibly the only extant copies – as well as the Charlotte Messenger for years. They had shared microfilmed copies of both papers with one of our partners, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, which had cataloged that microfilm into their catalog allowing us to find it online. Thanks to the cooperation of both of those organizations, we’re happy to share these newspapers on DigitalNC today.

The Fayetteville Educator

Founded by William C. or W. C. Smith, the Fayetteville Educator ran for a single year – September 26, 1874 through September 25, 1875. The first issue states that the paper’s “efforts will be directed to training the intellectual and moral sentiment of our youth” and that it is “printed and edited by colored young men.” The paper does include reports of the actions and events of the A. M. E. Zion church in North Carolina as well as many moral and anecdotal stories, poetry, and lifestyle recommendations for young men. However, it is also Republican in sentiment during a time when the North Carolina Republican party was trying to stave off disenfranchisement of the African American community by their Democrat counterparts.  In the first issue, the paper states that, while “indebted” to the Republican Publishing Company, the paper hoped that “others of different political faith show that they too are friendly.” The paper was eventually suspended because it considered its work complete and because it lacked patronage to continue:

A snippet from the last issue of the Fayetteville Educator, entitled "Close of Volume."“We are confident that we have done our duty, having stood by the party during the hottest campaign of the last decade, and witnessed success, even in redeeming our own and surrounding counties, we are assured that our work has not been in vain. We regret that our patronage is not sufficient to insure another year’s success…” September 25, 1875, page 2, pictured at right.

The work Smith refers to was keeping governmental control out of Democrat hands. Unfortunately, he called a premature success as less than a month after the final issue Democrats slyly eked out a narrow majority in the Convention of 1875. In the following years North Carolina Democrats implemented a number of laws that either overtly or obliquely upheld racism in the state’s political and social systems.

The Charlotte Messenger

While the Educator was never revived, William C. Smith went on shortly thereafter to begin another newspaper, the Charlotte Messenger. The same book cited above, which mentioned the Educator, describes the Messenger as a paper that fought “against intemperance, immorality, and all other evils coming its way.”** Reading from the salutatory message on the second page of the first issue you’ll see many similarities from the Educator.

In presenting this little sheet to our people, it is hoped that they will appreciate it as an honest effort on our part to promote the moral, intellectual and material standing of our people. We are aware of the difficulties and responsibilities attending the publication of a newspaper; but seeing the great need of an organ in this section to defend the principles of the Republican party; the need of an exponent of the rights of the colored people, we have undertaken the task and shall depend upon the wisdom and kindness of our friends to encourage and support us.”

A snippet from the November 24, 1888 issue of the Messenger, commenting on the Charlotte Chronicle newspaper.The Messenger began on June 17, 1882 and continued at least until 1891. The microfilmed issues that we’re able to share last from the June 17, 1882 issue through January 5, 1889. Issues include syndicated news from big city papers and other areas of the south, as well as the traditional repeated poetry, short stories, and advice found in many newspapers at this time period. But you’ll also find the regular “Fayetteville Notes” and other areas of that paper highlighting local news. Temperance is a continuous theme, as are other tenets of the Republican party at that time. The editors occasionally commented on news printed in the Charlotte Chronicle, the Messenger’s contemporary, like the example at right which mentions the 1888 election of President Benjamin Harrison.

We hope you’ll take a chance to delve into these two papers and the other African American newspapers on DigitalNC

_____

* I. Garland Penn. (1891) The Afro-American Press and Its Editors. p. 270

** –. p. 272


Images of Alamance County from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century are available now!

Main Street, Burlington, 1908

Main Street, Burlington, 1908

Over 100 new images of Alamance County are available on DigitalNC, thanks to our partners at Alamance County Public Libraries. The collection of photographs and postcards was compiled by Don Bolden, author of several books about Alamance County. They document various towns including Burlington, Alamance, Graham, Saxapahaw, Elon, Gibsonville, Mebane, and Whitsett.

The images range in date from around 1880 to 1936. Many focus on the communities’ rich industrial heritage, though other subjects shown include education, local businesses, and railroads, even a parade to celebrate the end of World War I. The town made a replica of L’Arc de Triomphe for the occasion, shown below.

The batch also includes images of several local mills, such as Elmira Cotton Mill, May Hosiery Mill, Aurora Cotton Mills, Whitehead Hosiery Mills, Daisy Hosiery Mill, and others.

Additionally, there are several photos of the Whitsett Institute, a co-ed school in Whitsett, North Carolina. Image subjects include students, teachers, the baseball team, the orchestra, and others.

To see all of the photos and postcards in this batch, click here. To learn more about the Alamance County Public Libraries, visit their partner page here, or their website here. To browse Don Bolden’s publications, click here.


New Issues of The Carolina Journal Are Available on DigitalNC!

UNCC Carolina Journal Front Page 11-01-1971

We are excited to announce the availability of 76 new issues of The Carolina Journal, the student newspaper from our partner University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The issues in this batch span September 1969 – July 1972 and offer an insightful glimpse at a tumultuous time in U.S. history.

Like many student newspapers, the issues cover topics like sports, school events, administrative updates. However,  there are occasionally artistic, yet simple full-page features that replace the traditional first page of the paper during momentous events that particularly impact students. These pages set the tone for the rest of paper in a striking way.

Volume 5, Issue 27 and Volume 6, Issue 24 each pay homage to the four unarmed college students killed on May 4, 1971 by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University during a mass protest against the bombing of Cambodia — an event now referred to as the Kent State massacre:

UNCC Carolina Journal Front Page Tribute to Kent State victims

The English translation of the Latin “Nos Morituri” is “We are about to die”

Other full-page features make political or social commentary. The 1970 Halloween issue (Volume 6, Issue 6) features a perhaps unflattering depiction of President Ronald Reagan and Vice President Spiro Agnew in costume with a “bag of tricks” [on the left]; the February 1972 paper (Volume 7, Issue 15) celebrates Senator Edward Kennedy’s pro-Civil Rights statement during his January address to the Washington Press Club [on the right]:

The Carolina Journal student newspaper's front page featuring Halloween drawing of Pres. Reagan and VP Spiro Agnew UNCC's Carolina Journal student newspaper first page featuring Senator Edward Kennedy Civil Rights quote

Editorial pieces and cartoons likewise make sociopolitical commentary in North Carolina and beyond:

 

From left to right, these snippets come from [1] Oct. 25, 1971 (Vol. 7, Issue 7), [2] Oct. 25, 1971 (Vol. 7, Issue 7), [3] March 25, 1970 (Vol. 5, Issue 21)

But that doesn’t mean the paper lacks humorous or everyday content, like cartoons about student life and ads for Wrangler jeans:

From left to right, these snippets come from [1] Sept. 17, 1969 (Vol. 5, Issue 1), [2] Sept. 24, 1969 (Vol. 5, Issue 2), [3] March 6, 1972 (Vol. 7, Issue 19)

It’s clear that these newspapers offer a fascinating perspective of what it was like to attend the University of Charlotte in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Please feel free to check out the full collection of the UNC Charlotte student newspaper here at DigitalNC!


New Issues of The Charlotte Jewish News are Now Online at DigitalNC!

Charlotte Jewish News header

DigitalNC welcomes 35 new issues of The Charlotte Jewish News, a monthly publication (with the exception of July) for the Jewish community in Charlotte, NC. Thanks to our partner, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Charlotte at the Levine-Sklut Judaic Library and Resource Center, this community newspaper now includes issues from February 2016 through March 2019. These publications document local events and fundraisers, showcase feature stories on prominent leaders, present think pieces on historical events, and highlight opportunities for members to grow stronger in their faith in Charlotte and beyond!

There is something for everyone within these pages:

The December 2016 issue pubs Scandal star Joshua Malina’s talk on “How to Remain a Mensch in Hollywood” for the Jewish Federation’s 2017 campaign.

Article featuring actor Joshua Malina's 2017 speaking event

Check out the 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners featuring books for children and teens that explore the Jewish experience in the February 2017 issue.

Article for 2017 Sydney Taylor Book Award winners

This article about Simchat Torah in the October 2018 issue offers women a new perspective of an old holiday.

Article about women celebrating Simchat Torah holiday

Browse The Charlotte Jewish News collections to view all issues, including preceding years as far back as 1979.


Explore Over 100 Scrapbooks Documenting Transylvania County Communities

Brown cover of the 1970 Sapphire Whitewater Community Scrapbook with the title in scriptFrom Balsam Grove to Brevard, we’ve recently added over 100 scrapbooks documenting communities and organizations in Transylvania County. These scrapbooks were scanned by the Transylvania County Public Library, which forwarded the scans to us for DigitalNC. They represent a number of organizations, many focused on community development. 

scrapbook page with four snapshots of signs around town and "Beautification" written at the top

From the 1958 Balsam Grove Community Scrapbook

Community development scrapbooks from the 1950s-1960s are common throughout North Carolina. These typically document efforts at beautification of homes and public areas, upgrading infrastructure like hospitals and sanitation, and fostering community spirit through local gatherings. The image at left from a Balsam Grove scrapbook is a good example of the types of information and photos you might find; it shows newly placed town signs.

These scrapbooks include photographs, many with descriptions and captions, along with newspaper clippings and ephemera from programs and events. Search all of them along with other items from Transylvania County at the Transylvania County Public Library’s partner page.


Newspapers from Burnsville, North Carolina, now on DigitalNC

The Yancey Record, June 17, 1971

The Yancey Record, June 17, 1971

Various issues of four newspapers published in Burnsville, North Carolina, are now available on DigitalNCThese papers are made available thanks to our new partner AMY Regional Library System.  We are pleased to provide access to:

Each paper shares news from Yancey County, especially from the Burnsville area, but also from a national and even international perspective. The papers share everything from lists of names of men drafted to serve in World War II, to social news about individuals throughout the area, to advertisements, to news of national politicians. Below are some sample clippings from the papers:

The Burnsville Eagle, April 1, 1932

The Burnsville Eagle, April 1, 1932

 

The Yancey Record, May 14, 1942

The Yancey Record, May 14, 1942

 

The Yancey Journal, November 21, 1974

The Yancey Journal, November 21, 1974

To browse all of DigitalNC’s materials from Yancey County, including newspapers, click here.