More than 30 new objects are now available on DigitalNC thanks to our partner, Alamance County Public Libraries. Items in this collection are more additions within the 6 month in-depth digitization effort documenting underrepresented communities in North Carolina.
This batch of materials tells important and powerful stories from Black communities in Burlington, Graham, and other townships in Alamance County. Below are highlights from the batch.
Several documents in the batch tell the story of Dr. Charles Richard Drew and his tragic connection to Alamance County. Drew was an internationally-renowned black physician credited for developing improved blood storage techniques, which was important for establishing large-scale blood banks during World War II. He was considered to be the most prominent African American in his field and actively protested racial segregation in blood donation as it lacked any scientific foundation.
Tragically, Drew was killed in a car accident, while driving through the Haw River area of Alamance County in 1950. Many myths surrounded his death, all of which are covered in some of the materials in this batch. Learn more about Dr. Drew, his life, death and memory through the links below:
- Charles Richard Drew: Alamance County Memorial
- Letter Concerning the Death of Dr. Charles Drew from the Memorial Hospital of Alamance County
- Clippings Concerning the Central High School Historical Marker
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 affected many communities in North Carolina ,especially with regard to school integration. This batch also includes several primary and secondary sources relating to the desegregation in Alamance county. Linked below, you can find a copy of the letter sent to parents of students in Burlington City Schools, announcing the upcoming change. In addition, there are several newspaper articles that document some of the lasting reactions. These items could be excellent tools for teachers who are looking for documents to support curriculum goals. Learn more about integration in Alamance County at the links below:
- Notice of School Desegregation Plan Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Burlington Integration: Memories Still Vivid
- Judge Dissolves Schools’ Prior Desegregation Order
Responses to change are not always peaceful, as was the case in Burlington after integration. This batch also includes a selection of newspaper clippings that document the violence that occurred in May, 1969. A night of riots resulted in the death of 15 year old Leon Mebane, which is documented in several of the articles below. Material like these and others from this batch tell the important stories of many community members who are often underrepresented in mainstream formats. These items and all of the new additions are full-text searchable and available for research and teaching. Learn more about Leon Mebane, his family, and the Burlington race riots below:
- Black Youth Killed in Night of Violence
- It Was a Long Tragic Night for Burlington
- Clippings Related to the Remembrance of Leon Mebane’s 1969 Murder and the Resulting Riots in Burlington
Other highlights from this batch also include information about Alamance County Bookmobiles, Alex Haley’s Roots and connections to the county, genealogy in the African American community, and the legacies of segregated high schools in the area. Browse these materials at the links below:
- Embracing the Legacy- Graham High School
- Thomas Memorials: Comprising the Biography, Death, Funeral Service, Burial Rite and Reminiscences of Rev. Spencer Thomas and Sketches of His Churches
- The Negro Heritage of Graham, North Carolina, 1800’s-1985
- Morton Township, Alamance County, School District Daybook
- Various Records of the Public Schools in Morton Township, Alamance County
- The Industries of Burlington, North Carolina: A Historical, Descriptive and Statistical Sketch of the Town and Its Surrounding
- Clippings Concerning Alex Haley’s Research and Experience in Alamance County
To learn more about about the items included in this batch and other materials from Alamance County Public Libraries, please visit the contributor page or the website. To learn more about DigitalNC’s current digitization effort focusing on underrepresented communities in North Carolina, please view this blog post.