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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More from the R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection

New additions to the R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection, provided by our partner, Durham County Library, are now online. This collection of funeral programs and obituaries of African American Durham residents was compiled by R. Kelly Bryant (1917-2015), a historian with an extensive knowledge of Durham, North Carolina.

The collection is arranged alphabetically by last names of individuals. Names included in the newest addition cover the surnames Gaddy through Kearny. The funeral programs and obituaries are an excellent genealogical source and often include biographical details like birth and death dates, names of family members, locations lived, and aspects of an individual’s life story. We will continue to digitize this collection, so check back for more additions in the coming months.

To take a look at what we have digitized so far of the R. Kelly Bryant Obituary Collection, please visit the collection’s exhibit page. Information about the collection is also available in the finding aid on Durham County Library’s website.

To see more materials from Durham County Library, visit their DigitalNC partner page, or take a look at their website.


More issues of The Chronicle out of Winston-Salem now available

The front page of The Chronicle from January 1, 2015. The Caption under the image reads “Zen Sadler (center) helps Don Williams and Patricia Sadler light the Kwanzaa kinara.”

Almost 20 years of The Chronicle from Winston-Salem are now online thanks to our partner, Forsyth County Public Library. Issues of The Chronicle continue to be published on a weekly basis, and this new batch covers the years 1997-2016 minus 2000. This batch joins previously digitized issues spanning 1974-1996.

The Chronicle targets the African-American community in Winston-Salem, and their website states, “We focus on positive news happening in Winston-Salem and some surrounding areas.” Topics covered include Arts & Lifestyle, Business, Education, Local News, Government, Health, Religion, and Sports. These papers offer a look at Winston-Salem’s changing and cultural landscape and community from the 1970s through today. Click here to browse through all digitized issue of The Chronicle.

To see more materials from Forsyth County Public Library, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website. To learn more about The Chronicle and check out recently published articles, visit The Chronicle’s website.


Loray Digital Archive expanded to include 1980s union efforts at Firestone Mill

We were excited this past semester to partner with the AMST 475H, Documenting Communities class here at UNC to show them how a digitization project works from star to finish.  This is a guest post from the class.

Written by: Dani Callahan and Lucas Kelley

New material that documents the unionization of the Gastonia’s Firestone Mill have been added to DigitalNC’s existing collection on the mill: the Loray Digital Archive. The Gaston County Museum of Art and History provided the materials for digitization, and UNC-Chapel Hill students in Professor Robert Allen’s Documenting Communities course scanned the material, researched the unionization movement, and added metadata to the documents.

The unionization of the Firestone Mill occurred in the late 1980s and was particularly contentious both within the mill community and throughout the region. The violent unionization efforts of the 1920s, exemplified in the Loray strike of 1929, had left deep wounds within Gastonia, and area residents and workers had traditionally distrusted subsequent unionization attempts. The widespread economic downturn in the textile industry in the 1980s, however, meant harsher conditions and less pay for the workers at Firestone, and some workers hoped the United Rubber Workers Union could provide protection from the difficult economic climate.

 Pro-union pamphlet distributed to employees at Firestone Mill in the late 1980s. It was produced by the AFL-CIO.

The materials added to the Loray Digital Archive document the pro-union and anti-union campaigns. Each side sought to attract workers to their cause with flyers, posters, stickers, buttons, and pamphlets. Initially, the anti-union forces held off the unionization attempt in 1987. Widespread media coverage turned the referendum into a political circus and leaders of the pro-union movement could not overcome area residents’ distrust. Yet a year later, Firestone workers voted to join the union in a campaign that was much more subdued. The success of pro-union forces was due in large part to the diligence of the union’s committee members working inside the mill. While the 1987 vote had turned into a regional and even national media circus, the 1988 vote remained an internal debate housed within Firestone itself. When the workers at the Firestone Mill voted on April 14th, 1988 to join the United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastic Workers by a narrow margin, it was a victory nearly sixty years in the making.  Click the link view all the materials from the 1980s union effort.


The Daily Advance, Newspaper from Elizabeth City, Now Online

The headline in The Daily Advance announcing the sudden death of the 29th President of the United States.

Over 1300 issues of Elizabeth City’s daily newspaper–The Daily Advance, provided by our partner, Pasquotank County Library, are now digitized. These issues span the time period from 1923-1927, and as indicated by the paper’s name, were published every day except Sundays. The Daily Advance was founded in 1911 and continues to be published online and in print. Elizabeth City is located in Pasquotank County on the North Carolina coast. Currently the paper also covers Currituck, Camden, Perquimans, and Chowan counties.

During the 1920s The Daily Advance covered both national and local news including politics, the economy, and other stories of note. The paper provides a lens to see the nation during the roaring ’20s through the view of coastal North Carolinians. The introduction of new products and industries, dramatic political events, shifts cultural norms, and changing role of the media can be seen in this local paper.

To browse through issues of The Daily Advance, click here. To see more materials from Pasquotank County Library, take a look at their partner page or visit their website.

New women’s fashion trends discussed in the September 14, 1925 issue of The Daily Advance


Dozens of Greene County high school yearbooks now available thanks to new partner, Greene County Museum

The 1958 Maury Mecca staff.

A new batch of yearbooks from Greene County are now available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our new partner Greene County Museum. Included in this group are eight years of Ho-Hi Echoes by Hookerton High School from 1953 to 1961, nine years of The Maury Mecca by Maury High School from 1952 to 1961, and over a dozen years of The Talisman by Walstonburg High School from 1947 to 1961. Also included is twelve issues of yearbooks by Snow Hill High School from 1949 to 1961, where the yearbook went through 3 different name changes in 6 years!

These yearbooks include individual portraits, class portraits, as well as photographs of activities, clubs, and sports. Some of the yearbooks also include histories of the classes, and “class prophecies”, where the students imagined where they would be in the future.

Follow the links below to browse the yearbooks from the schools, included in this batch:

  • Ho-Hi Echoes, 1953-1961, Hookerton High School, Hookerton, N.C.
  • The Maury Mecca, 1952-1961, Maury High School, Maury, N.C.
  • Memoirs, 1949-1952, Snow Hill High School, Snow Hill, N.C.
  • The Knoll, 1953-1954, Snow Hill High School, Snow Hill N.C.
  • The Yellow Jacket, 1955-1957, Snow Hill High School, Snow Hill N.C.
  • The Knoll, 1958-1961, Snow Hill High School, Snow Hill N.C.
  • The Talisman, 1947-1961, Walstonburg High School, Walstonburg, N.C.

To see more from our partner who provided these yearbooks, visit Greene County Museum’s partner page or check out their website.


Five More Years of Coastal Newspaper, The State Port Pilot, Added to DigitalNC!

Five more years of The State Port Pilot, a newspaper from Southport, North Carolina, are now on DigitalNC. These issues span the years 1945-1949, and were provided by our partner, the Margaret and James Harper, Jr. Library. They join previously digitized issues published from 1935-1945.

The State Port Pilot was established in 1935 and physical and digital copies continue to be distributed to this day. The newly digitized issues include articles pertaining to local news. As Southport is located in the coast, many articles concern fishing and boating. Other topics covered include local politics, the local economy, and events and happenings in the community. One weekly column includes investigations by “Our Roving Reporter.”

To browse through all digitized issues of the State Port Pilot, click here. To learn more about the Margaret and James Harper, Jr. Library, visit their partner page or take a look at their website.


New scrapbooks add to the history of Central Piedmont Community College

A view of the CPCC Campus and Parking Lot, circa 1979.

CPCC brought in planetarium curator Ray Shubinski to teach an astronomy class in 1980.

A new batch of several scrapbooks containing news and goings on at Central Piedmont Community College from May 1978 to Dec 1980 are now online on DigitalNC. These scrapbooks join previously digitized ones dating back to the late 1940s that cover the founding and first few years of CPCC. Included in the new scrapbooks are newspaper clippings, newsletters, photos, and advertisements.

Looking through the scrapbooks shows us what sorts of interesting programs and events were hosted on campus at that time. For example, when PBS broadcasted Carl Sagan’s Cosmos in October 1980, CPCC brought in Ray Shubinski, the planetarium curator of the Charlotte Nature Museum (now Discovery Place), to teach an accompanying 13-week course. At the time, the course cost $10.75.

To read more about Central Piedmont Community College in the 1970s, you can browse the scrapbook collection here. To learn more about CPCC, visit their partner page, or take a look at their website.


Over 100 New Photographs from Central Carolina Community College Now Online

The CCCC Etheridge High Tech building under construction

An aerial view of the Central Carolina Technical College Harnett campus

A new batch of over 130 images from Central Carolina Community College have now been added to DigitalNC. This is our seventh set of photos and it brings our exhibit A Pictorial History of Central Carolina Community College to almost 3,000 photos!

Much of this set is about the various buildings around CCCC, including the construction of the CCCC Pittsboro campus, the construction of the CCCC Etheridge High Tech building, and the planning and construction of the CCCC Harnett County campus. Also included are photos of the NC School of Telecommunications, the Harnett Correctional Institute,  and several aerial photographs taken of the CCCC Campus in Harnett County.

To learn more about Central Carolina Community College, please visit their contributor page or their website. To see more photos like this, check out A Pictorial History of Central Carolina Community College Collection and the Images of North Carolina Collection.


Millbrook High School yearbooks from Olivia Raney Local History Library now online

New editions of The Laurel yearbook from Millbrook High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, are now online at DigitalNC. They span from 1955 to 1969, and were provided by our partner Olivia Raney Local History Library.

A photo of the Millbrook High School class of 1958.

Millbrook High School was opened in the fall of 1922. More buildings were added to it in the 1930s and 1940s, and it still operates in Raleigh today. These yearbooks contain student portraits, class portraits, sports photos, and photos of activities and school groups. They also have class histories, and class prophecies, where the students imagined they would be in the future. Like all yearbooks on DigitalNC, they are full text-searchable.

Click here to view the rest of the yearbooks from Millbrook High School. To learn more about the Olivia Raney Local History Library, visit their partner page and take a look at their website.


50 more photographs from the M.S. Brown collection now available

A view inside the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Edgecombe County

A new batch of over 50 photographs from the M.S. Brown Collection is now available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Edgecombe County Memorial Library. Click here to view the photos.

People posing in front of the booth for WCPS, the radio station still running in Tarboro. M.S. Brown is 2nd from the right

Many of these photos reflect on daily life in Tarboro or in Edgecombe County in the 1930s and 1940s. There are many photographs and portraits of local citizens included. Some other photos are of businesses and public common areas in Tarboro, while there are several of local figures, including a photo of the Carolina Power and Light Director’s Meeting and a few photos of the Edgecombe 4-H Clubs meeting in Tarboro.

To learn more about M.S. Brown, check out all of his photos available on his DigitalNC exhibit page. To see all of the items contributed by the Edgecombe County Memorial Library, visit their partner page or their website.