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Digital NC has new issues of The Carolina Times thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Included among the new issues is a special editorial to highlight “unique Black women.” The Carolina Times demonstrated a commitment to celebrating Black history through its frequent educational articles.
The “Unique Black Women” feature covers recognizable names, including journalist Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), activist Rosa Parks (1913-2005), and politician Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005). The editorial also celebrates local Durham heroes, such as West End neighborhood elder and activist Constance Walker (1942-).
The editorial includes the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray (1910-1985), a priest, scholar, lawyer, and poet who grew up in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Murray was the first Black person to earn a Doctor of the Science of Law degree from Yale. Murray’s legal arguments were utilized to end public school segregation and advance women’s rights in the workplace.
While Dr. Murray’s impact extends around the world, their legacy is especially honored in Durham. Murray attended Hillside, a historically Black and segregated high school. They later wrote Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family about their family and the history and legacy of segregation in Durham. Today, there are now murals across the city with Murray’s image. Work like this 1983 article helps preserve Durham’s memory and honor its local leaders, making future initiatives possible.
You can see all available issues of The Carolina Times here or browse our North Carolina Newspaper collection by location, type, and date. For more information about UNC Chapel Hill and its library holdings, you can visit its partner page or its website.
Some of the missing issues of The Carolina Times from 1979-1982 have been added to Digital NC thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In these recently uploaded issues, it’s clear that the paper is committed to voicing some of the experiences of Black citizens of Durham in the late ’70s and early ’80s. One way that the paper celebrates Black history is through the “Things You Should Know” Continental Features, which briefly note the accomplishments of important historic figures.
Some of the cartoon faces in these features may already seem familiar to you, such as novelist William Wells Brown, the white philanthropist Julius Rosenwald (known for his financial support of “Rosenwald schools”), and Nicholas Biddle, the first Black Union soldier wounded in the Civil War. Others, it seems, haven’t persisted into our collective memory as strongly, though the paper makes a case for them.
One such figure is Mary Fields, apparently the first Black woman to be a star route mail carrier on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service. As her feature suggests, she was sometimes known as “Stagecoach Mary” due to her usual mode of transportation. But Fields didn’t set up her own mail route until she was 60 years old; before that, she worked on board the first Robert E. Lee steamboat (made famous by its race on the Mississippi) and served as the forewoman at St. Peter’s, a Catholic mission in Montana. Other sources confirm that she was incredibly strong and stood around six feet tall.
Though she encountered conflicts in her life and work, Fields was beloved in the community of Cascade, Montana; the town apparently closed schools each year to celebrate her birthday, and she was sometimes exempt from rules governing women. She passed away in 1914 and was celebrated with one of the largest funerals in the town’s history.
Another, even more mysterious figure is Beatrice Johnson Trammell. This blurb has pretty much all the information available about her that can be found with cursory internet searches, and the same is true for the others connected to her in the article. But apparently, she was known well enough in 1982 for someone to include her in the series.
You can see all available issues of The Carolina Times here or browse our North Carolina Newspaper collection by location, type, and date. For more information about UNC Chapel Hill and its library holdings, you can visit their partner page or their website.
Sixtieth Anniversary Convention of the North Carolina Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs, Page 27
Thanks to our partners at North Carolina Central University, DigitalNC has published a large batch of materials from the North Carolina Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs.
Founded in 1909 by Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown, the North Carolina Federation of Negro Women Clubs, Young Adult & Youth Clubs, Incorporated is a social service organization focused on issues that affect women, children, and communities of color in North Carolina. The group still meets regularly and many of the materials date from the most recent conference. This exhibit contains materials relating the organization’s statewide activities, including conferences, fundraisers, and service activities.
The group’s motto, “Lifting as we climb,” helps to illustrate the philosophy that drove the generations of women who participated in the Federation’s various clubs throughout the state. Members fostered the importance and value of human life and the constant desire for acceptance and worth. The issues that are closest to the heart of the NC Federation include fundraising for educational scholarships, providing Braille resources for people who are blind, raising awareness for sickle cell disease and HIV-AIDS, advocating for children, youth and senior citizens, and supporting the NAACP.
Constitution and By-Laws of North Carolina Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs, Young Adult and Youth Clubs, Inc.; Page 1
These items, collected in a new exhibit, document more than 60 years of the organization’s existence. The batch includes several conference programs, highlighting the activities and people who embodied the “Lifting as We Climb” motto. Several highlights from this collection are listed at the links below:
To learn more about North Carolina Central University and to see all of their contributions to the site, please visit their contributor page or the website. To see more items like these, browse the North Carolina Memory Collection or the North Carolina Newspaper Collection.
Letter to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina from St. Tammany Lodge No. 30
A new batch from Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina is now available on DigitalNC! The batch includes more than 40 additions to the North Carolina Memory and Images of North Carolina Collections. Dating from as early as 1778, these items document the rich history of Masonry in North Carolina.
An interesting find from this batch includes a Letter to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina from St. Tammany Lodge No. 30 (pictured to the left). This item, dated to 1807, documents the Tammany Lodge of Wilmington, N.C. in their attempt to expel a member from the group for his “unpardonable” behavior. His crimes included defaulting on debts, cheating his patrons, and “swindling every creature who placed trust in him.”
Also from this batch, are several materials documenting the construction of several Masonic landmarks in the Raleigh area, including the Masonic Temple (designed with help from Leslie N. Boney, Sr.) and the headquarters on Glenwood Avenue.
Album Relating to Josephus Daniels House, Page 3
To learn more about the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina, please visit their contributor page or the website.
Here at the Digital Heritage Center, we’re able to scan or photograph almost all kinds of two dimensional items and even a goodly number of those in three dimensions. However, audiovisual materials are sent off site for digitization to a vendor and, as such, it’s a service we’ve only been able to offer annually. We just concluded our second round of audiovisual digitization and, like last year, our partners came forward with a wide variety of film and audio nominations documenting North Carolina’s history. This is the first in a series of posts about the accepted nominations, with links to the items in the Sights and Sounds collection.
Belmont Abbey College
Unidentified man, presumably from Gaston County and interviewed for the Crafted with Pride Project in 1985.
The “Crafted with Pride” project, led by several cultural heritage institutions and businesses in Gaston County in 1985, sought to record and bring public awareness to the textile industry’s impact in Gaston County. During the project, a number of oral histories were collected from those who had worked in textile mills and lived in mill villages in towns like Belmont, Bessemer City, Cherryville, Dallas, Gastonia, High Shoals, McAdenville, Mount Holly, and Stanley. Belmont Abbey College has shared these oral histories on DigitalNC, as well as images and documents from the project. The oral histories touch on the toil of mill work, especially during the Great Depression, and the positive and negative cultural and social aspects of mill villages in North Carolina during the early 20th century.
Cumberland County Public Library
An unidentified girl wearing tartans at festivities surrounding Cumberland County’s Sesquicentennial in 1939.
Silent footage of the 1939 sesquicentennial parade in Fayetteville, N.C. combines Scottish customs, local history, and military displays from Cumberland County. This film was nominated by the Cumberland County Public Library, along with a brief advertisement soliciting support for renovation of Fayetteville’s Market House.
Duke University Medical Center Archives
Scene from “The Sound of Mucus,” performed by Duke Medical School students in 1989.
The films and oral histories nominated by the Duke University Medical Center Archives describe the history of Duke Hospital and Duke University’s School of Medicine. Included is a Black History Month Lecture by Dr. Charles Johnson, the first Black professor at Duke Medicine, in which he describes his early life and his work at Duke. You can also view “The Sound of Mucus,” a comedic musical created and performed by Duke Medical students and faculty in 1989. Two interviews conducted with Wilburt Cornell Davison and Jane Elchlepp give first hand accounts of Duke Hospital and Medical School history.
We’ll be posting several more blog posts in the coming weeks which will introduce the other films from our partners now viewable on DigitalNC.
The Quarterly Review of the Eastern North Carolina Genealogical Society [March 1988], page 119
15 volumes of the Quarterly Review of the Eastern North Carolina Genealogical Society are now available on DigitalNC, contributed by the New Bern-Craven County Public Library.
The Quarterly Review of the Eastern North Carolina Genealogical Society [March 1988], page 104
The Review was established in 1974 as a way to publicize genealogy and local history information. Each issues contains a wealth of information including copies of wills, marriage records, family trees, and other transcripts of historical documents. The Review also offered research help for readers’ questions and essays by local genealogists. These issues could serve as an excellent, centralized source for genealogists interested in this area of the state.
You can view all of the recently added issues at this link.
To see more from the New Bern-Craven County Public Library please visit the contributor page or the website.
Students at Shaw University, 1911.
With the recent addition of student yearbooks from Livingstone College, DigitalNC now hosts historic materials from ten different Historically Black Colleges and Universities in North Carolina. These materials document more than a century of African American higher education in North Carolina. From our earliest projects in 2010 to the present, the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center has worked closely with libraries and archives at historically Black colleges around the state, and we continue to add materials from these collections on a regular basis. Follow the links below to browse yearbooks, newspapers, photos, scrapbooks, and more materials by school.
Bennett College (Greensboro)
Elizabeth City State University
Fayetteville State University
Johnson C. Smith University (Charlotte)
Livingstone College (Salisbury)
North Carolina A&T (Greensboro)
North Carolina Central University (Durham)
Saint Augustine’s University (Raleigh)
Shaw University (Raleigh)
Winston-Salem State University
Sophomore class officers at North Carolina Central University, 1963.
Sign pointing microfilm users to different online resources. Taken in Wilson Library’s North Carolina Collection Reading Room, UNC-Chapel Hill.
[This post updated July 2017.]
Newspaper digitization is challenging for a number of reasons (refer to our previous post). Although we’re biased, if you’re interested in accessing North Carolina newspapers online you’re actually pretty lucky; North Carolina is positioned well ahead of many other states. Below we’ve listed, in descending order of size, all of the major historic online newspaper databases sponsored by North Carolina institutions that are on our radar.
Amount Online: 3,500,000+ pages
Details: The North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill Library recently partnered with Newspapers.com to digitize millions of pages of North Carolina newspapers. These are accessible for free at the State Archives of North Carolina or UNC-Chapel Hill’s Library, or you can view them anywhere at newspapers.com for a monthly fee. As of July 2017, NC LIVE also makes these papers available to member libraries and their card holders. While there are other vendors out there with historic North Carolina newspapers, this is the most comprehensive to date.
Name: The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
Amount Online: 640,000+ pages
Details: Each year we receive LSTA funding from the State Library of North Carolina to digitize newspapers. Part of that funding goes toward papers on microfilm, for which we ask for title nominations from libraries and archives. We also digitize some newspapers from print (mostly college and university student newspapers) as well as small runs of community papers that have not been microfilmed.
Name: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, National Digital Newspaper Program Grant Award
Amount Online: 100,000+ pages
Details: UNC-Chapel Hill is currently in its second round of providing selected historic newspapers for digitization and sharing through the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website. These issues are searchable along with a selection of titles from other states.
Name: University of North Carolina at Greensboro Library / Greensboro Museum
Coverage: Town of Greensboro and surrounding area
Amount Online: 5,000+ issues
Details: The Greensboro Historical Newspapers collection includes a variety of papers from that area, including World War II military base papers.
Name: The State Archives of North Carolina
Amount Online: 4,000+ issues
Details: The State Archives of North Carolina actively preserves, microfilms, and digitizes newspapers. While most of these are not currently available online, they have shared some of the earliest on their website.
Name: East Carolina University Library
Coverage: Town of Greenville and surrounding area
Amount Online: 1,800+ issues
Details: ECU’s Digital Collections include The Eastern Reflector, a community paper published in Greenville.
While more focused, college and university papers (especially earlier issues) often included local community news. In addition to those featured on DigitalNC, here’s a list of other school papers online:
This isn’t to say others aren’t scanning their local newspapers – we know some heard of local entities (businesses and libraries) working toward that goal. But this post was intended to list the largest, statewide, and (mostly) freely searchable endeavors. Know of others? Tell us.
In Part 3 of this Newspaper Digitization series, we’ll get technical and describe how we digitize newspapers here at the Digital Heritage Center.
Two related notes:
- Looking for a newspaper that isn’t online (yet)? Through your local public library, you can most likely loan and view newspaper microfilm from the State Library of North Carolina. This Newspaper Locator may be helpful if you want to determine some of the titles published in a specific area.
- North Carolinians are heavily involved in efforts to preserve born-digital news. The Educopia Institute, located in Greensboro, is spearheading a conversation that brings in news producers and cultural heritage professionals to talk about our disappearing journalistic heritage. At their website you can learn more about the Memory Hole events and read a white paper on Newspaper Preservation.
The Rockingham County Public Library has recently contributed a new batch of materials to the Rockingham County: A Digital Heritage Project digital exhibit on DigitalNC.
A Scrapbook: Mayodan, North Carolina People (Cover), 1909-1944
Grace Baptist Church Sunday Program from the 57th Anniversary Service, 1981
The emphasis of this batch was on local history. Pictorial histories of Reidsville and Rockingham County generally are joined by self-published booklets by a local historian, a scrapbook of Mayodan people and events from 1909 to 1944, and materials related to church histories from the vertical files.
Grace Baptist Church in Mayodan, N.C. celebrated its 57th Anniversary in 1981. A history of the church was published and distributed along with the Sunday Program on August 23, 1981. The vertical files include newspaper clippings, programs, and cemetery surveys to flesh out the history of various local churches in Mayodan, Ellisboro, Reidsville, and Madison.
While the vertical files focused primarily on church history, booklets published by John T. Dallas tackled more diverse topics. Dallas compiled fifteen booklets containing archival research, newspaper clippings, registers, and photographs between the years of 2006 and 2012. Seven of these booklets are dedicated to genealogical studies of notable families, while others cover topics such as murder, gambling, and confederate history.
These materials were digitized as part of a 2014-2015 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) EZ Digitzation Grant, as distributed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the State Library of North Carolina.
“From Horse to Horseless,” pages 32 and 33 in History and program commemorating the centennial of Kings Mountain 1874-1974.
Recently, we digitized the 1974 Centennial history and program for Kings Mountain, North Carolina, from new contributing institution Mauney Memorial Library. The booklet includes numerous photographs and a detailed history of the town, with each page sponsored by a different local business. Contents also include various programs for events relevant to the centennial celebration.
This addition to DigitalNC.org is just one of many digitized objects available online related to the celebration of a town or organization’s centennial celebration.
Page 94 and page 96 from the Albemarle, Stanly County Centennial.
Front Cover of the Duke Ellington Centennial Celebration program
Among these materials is the Albemarle, Stanly County Centennial from 1957. The Bridge from Yesterday–Into Tomorrow is an Albemarle Centennial booklet published by the Albemarle-Stanly County Historic Preservation Commission. The booklet includes poetry, personal accounts from locals, and photographs of Albemarle citizens.
A more recent publication is A Duke Ellington Centennial Celebration from 1999. A Duke Ellington Centennial Celebration is a program generated by “Beyond Category: A Symposium on the Life, Works, and Orchestra of Duke Ellington,” a project made possible via the North Carolina Humanities Council. The symposium occurred on February 22-28, 1999, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It included lectures on Jazz and many concerts performed by local and recognized musicians, including Kevin Mahogany and The Heath Brothers.
Page 50 of the East Bend Centennial Scrapbook
Another selection is the August 1987 East Bend Centennial Scrapbook, which commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the town of East Bend, which was founded March 7, 1887.
Click here to browse a selection of North Carolina Memory centennial materials.
Farmville residents Mark Mozingo and Lottie Mozingo, 1972
In addition to North Carolina Memory, DigitalNC’s Images of North Carolina also contains photographs depicting Centennial Celebrations. The 1972 Farmville Centennial Celebration, for instance, has over 150 photographs documenting the centennial parade and the Farmville residents posing for portraits in period costume. Accompanying the photographs is Farmville’s 100th Anniversary book, which contains a detailed history of the town’s founding as well as accounts of notable residents, organizations, and events.
Child Posing with Clown on Main Street, Farmville 1972 Centennial Celebration
You may browse other images from North Carolina centennial celebrations here.