DigitalNC partner Cleveland County Memorial Library provided us with a rich collection of documents, photographs, and yearbooks related to the history of Black citizens in the area. Much of the collection focuses on Black schools that were established during the era of Jim Crow and segregation. These schools were created out of necessity but did not survive integration, leaving their history vulnerable. Fortunately people like Ezra A. Bridges, a longtime educator and community activist, made it a priority to preserve items related to the Black experience in Cleveland County.
Biographical Information on Ezra A. Bridges.
Ezra A. Bridges at groundbreaking.
A few highlights from the collection are the yearbooks, various histories of schools in the area, and photographs of students and educators. There is a lot more in this important collection of materials that stress and celebrate Black citizens of Cleveland County and their relentless pursuit of education and proper representation. To see more from Cleveland County Memorial Library visit their contributor page.
Educator and her students.
Thanks to our partner, the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, we have now uploaded several books of church minutes from the First Baptist Church of New Bern, as well as a book from 1984 on the history of the congregation.
Cover for “‘In The Beginning—Baptists’!: History of the First Baptist Church, New Bern, North Carolina 1809-1984” by Edna Avery Cook.
The First Baptist Church of New Bern was founded on May 11, 1809 after numerous unsuccessful attempts to form a Baptist church on the site since before the American Revolutionary War. On July 2, 1848 the sanctuary–a gothic revival structure that still stands today–was dedicated. The structure was left mostly unharmed during the Civil War, except for an indent from a cannonball from the Battle of New Bern that was visible until renovations were completed in 1975.
Cover of the book of minutes for the First Baptist Church of New Bern from December 3, 1870-January 1, 1883.
For more about the New-Bern Craven County Public Library, visit their website.
In a new batch of items from partner Union County Public Library, which they digitized themselves, there are materials that date all the way back to 1876. A catalog for Monroe High School from 1876 details all the classes one could take at the school, which was a white, private, co-educational school that advertised not only to those who lived in Monroe, but in the surrounding area, including South Carolina. In the first section of the book it lists the enrollment at the school and hometowns of each student. The cost for 20 weeks at the school was $10-$16 tuition plus $50 for room and board.
Other materials from this batch include several Chamber of Commerce publications promoting Monroe, NC, a feature on the new library in Monroe, and the minutes of the Union County Medical Association from 1902 to 1922. The Medical Association minutes are particularly interesting in mentioning about a black doctor, Dr. J.S. Massey, being a member in 1903 in what was otherwise an all white organization. This would have been during a time of increasing segregation and aggression by whites against black in North Carolina following the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision and the 1898 race riots in Wilmington and the shift in the government in 1900 to a white supremacist Democratic leadership.
There is also a yearbook from 1954 from Union High School that was located in Lanes Creek Township.
To view more materials from Union County Public Library, visit their partner page.
Today we are highlighting new partner, Andrews Public Library, who has partnered with the NCDHC to digitize notes and documents related to board meetings and annual reports. The library is a Carnegie Library and much of the materials relate to the library being built and it’s earliest days serving the community. Among the collection is a Minutes of the Board of Trustees, notebook that covers 1916- 1924. Inside the notebook is a newspaper clipping related to the significance of what a Carnegie Library is in regards to origin and design.
Minutes of the Board of Trustees 1916-1924
Newspaper clipping on Andrews’ Carnegie Library
There is also another notebook that covers more than thirty years of Board of Trustees meetings.
Board of Trustees Meeting Notes, 1953-1984
To learn more about Andrews Public Library, visit their partner page here or their website here.
Andrews Carnegie Library Annual Report, 1922
Bennett College has shared with us a collection that covers more than 100 years of their school activities, with a particular focus on the Home Economics program at the school and the yearly institute hosted by the school on varying topics related to Home Economics. Among the collection are institutional records, numerous booklets related to home economics research, event programs, obituaries, flyers, newsletters, and photos of faculty, students, and community members. There are also newspaper clippings and magazines that relate to happenings at Bennett related to educational enrichment and fashion.
Bennett College Home Economics Students, circa 1900.
A highlight of the collection are photographs from a political rally in support of Shirley Chisholm.
Students at rally for Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm, 1972
The African American all women college of Bennett is located in Greensboro, N.C. Bennett is filled with a rich tradition and historic legacy that will never be surpassed, we are proud to partner with them and to help preserve their heritage. To learn more about the Bennett College collections click here.
Gittens / Ward Home Economics Club Newsletter, September 17, 1988
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.
Twenty new items from the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina are now online, thanks to their continued partnership. These recently digitized materials are mostly comprised of minute books recording various lodges’ meetings, but also includes some petitions for establishing or reestablishing new lodges, a charter for a new lodge, members listings, an address to a lodge, and a scrapbook. Geographically, the new additions document masonic activities in Raleigh, Halifax, High Point, Trenton, Charlotte, Oxford, Lincolnton, Smithfield, and Wilmington, North Carolina. The materials span centuries, with a copy of the Charter for the Royal White Hart Lodge No. 403 of Halifax from 1767 and a scrapbook from the Numa F. Reid Lodge No. 344 of High Point from the 1960s.
To learn more about The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, visit their partner page or their website.
Laborers threshing wheat on the Carpenter farm
Agriculture is the theme of our latest digitized collection. Our partner the Historical Association of Catawba County provided photographs from the 1920’s through the 1950’s that show farm workers, mills, and the cultivation of crops from that era. There are also pictures of farm equipment and farm animals such as horses, mules, and cows. And if you have ever wondered how farmers threshed wheat, there are a few photographs that will show you how its done. Other photographs include farmers proudly displaying their crops and farm animals. While the majority of photographs were taken in Catawba county, there are pictures from other counties throughout North Carolina. To see all of the photographs in this collection click here.
A man, a police officer, and two large watermelons.
A photo showing damage to a tobacco warehouse in Wallace, North Carolina after Hurricane Hazel
A new batch of newspaper clippings and articles that tell the story of Duplin County are now available on DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Duplin County Library. This is the first material of its kind that they have donated and we are privileged to have it.
A 1951 photo of Duplin County Rev. L.C. Prater sawing timber that would go to rebuilding the local Universalist Church.
Included in this collection are clippings from the Duplin Times from 1949-1962, clippings from the Raleigh News & Observer from 1950-1965, and clippings from the Wallace Enterprise from 1953-1964. Many of these assorted clippings focus on Duplin County activities, highlighting important figures of the community, the goings-on at local schools, and what regular people were doing in Duplin County in the middle of the 20th century. There are other articles included here, as well. One of the articles from the Duplin Times also includes a transcribed letter from General Sherman in March 1865, and the clippings from the Raleigh News & Observer include profiles about the life of Dr. John Atkinson Ferrell, a doctor who fought the spread of hookworm in North Carolina.
This is the first material of its kind from the Duplin County Library, and it is a valuable addition to DigitalNC. To learn more from the Duplin County Library, please take a look at their partner page or visit their website.
Members of the Graduating Class of 1949
DigitalNC is proud to announce the Dudley Alumni Association as its 250th partner. The Dudley Alumni Association provided us with yearbooks, photographs, student newspapers, and newspaper clippings related to educators in Greensboro, N.C. As an alumni of James B. Dudley High School with family ties that include my father, sister, aunt, great uncle, and other family members I am overjoyed to have such an intimate connection to this contribution to the DigitalNC website.
Included in the collection are yearbooks from 1957 and the years 1966-1969. I had the personal pleasure of viewing yearbooks that cover my father’s entire time at Dudley, 1967-1969. There are also photos of students and administrators in the classroom, and students on the campus yard, as well as images of the graduating classes of 1949, 1953, and 1959 in their caps and gowns.
1969 Dudley High School Yearbook
Graduates from the Class of ’69
The historic James B. Dudley High School is an intricate part of the legacy of Greensboro, N.C. and now other alumni, community members, and people who want to be reminded of, or are curious about, what Panther Pride looks like can view items that frame this historically Black high school.
Students and Administrators