Thanks to our new partner, Union County Public Library, DigitalNC now features 3 yearbooks [1956, 1958, and 1962] from Winchester Avenue High School, which was the black high school in Monroe, North Carolina. Winchester first opened as a K-12 school serving the black community in the 1920s. It was an important institution in Monroe’s black community, serving as a community center and point of pride for the many students who graduated from the school. That all changed in March 1966 when a fire heavily damaged the school. The high school students finished the year in the undamaged parts, but it was the end of Winchester as a high school. As a result, with no other options, the black students and faculty from Winchester all went to the all white Monroe High School for the 1966-1967 school year, making Monroe High the first fully integrated high school in the state.
One of Winchester’s graduates is a trailblazer whose story has been highlighted very recently, Christine Darden. Darden is a retired engineer and executive from NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, and her story is one of the one’s highlighted in the book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.” Darden [Christine Mann is her maiden name] attended Winchester School through sophomore year before transferring to the Allen School, a boarding school in Asheville in 1956. She served as a sophomore class officer while at Winchester.
To learn more about our new partner, Union County Public Library, visit their partner page here. To see more yearbooks from across North Carolina, visit here.
Alamance County Prison Farm Inmates use Bookmobile
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.
Charles Richard Drew: Alamance County Memorial, page 3
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:
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:
Black Youth Killed in Night of Violence, page 1
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:
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
Embracing the Legacy- Graham High School, page 46
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.