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.

RSS Subscribe By Mail UNC Social Media Statement


Viewing entries by Ashlie Brewer


Band, Ten Hut! Granville County Store Ledgers and Six New Yearbooks Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Granville County Public Library, we now have ledgers from Granville County’s Woodworth Store and Townesville Store available on our website as well as six new yearbooks added to our North Carolina High School Yearbooks collection! These yearbooks are from Vance County High School (1970 and 1971), Franklinton High School (1971), J.F. Webb High School (1971), and Henderson High School (1964 and 1971). 

With the start of the fall semester and football season here in North Carolina, marching bands are officially back on the field and in the stands supporting their teams and entertaining audiences with favorites such as Fight SongHey Baby, and You Can Call Me Al. While we all appreciate what marching bands adds to these sporting events, no school has shown as much appreciation for their marching band than Henderson High School.

In the school’s 1964 yearbook, an overwhelming amount of page space is given to the school’s band. Some of these photographs show the students rehearsing in the band room with band director W. T. Hearne, but a majority of them show the students in their full marching band and majorette uniforms. The photographs included in this post from the 1964 Pep Pac showcase the amazing size of their band as well as their snazzy uniforms.

To learn more about the Granville County Public Library, visit their website here.

For more yearbooks from across North Carolina, visit our North Carolina Yearbook collection.

 

 


Issues of Northampton County Times-News Cover School Desegregation

Top portion of June 26 1969 issue of the Northampton Times-News showing photo of school construction

Front page of the June 26, 1969 issue of The Northampton Times-News.

Thanks to our partner, Northampton County Museum, issues spanning 1967 to 1969 of The Northampton County Times-News are now available on our website.

Published squarely in the middle of the desegregation of North Carolina schools, these issues detail county officials’ efforts at maintaining segregation through a policy entitled “Freedom of Choice.” Though this push back against desegregation mirrors the history of many other counties in the state, the Times-News has really detailed local reporting on the topic and doesn’t shy away from talking about race-related tensions.

In 1967, the U.S. Attorney General brought a lawsuit against Northampton County schools claiming the county failed to desegregate them as required. The lawsuit cited the continuing separation into all white and all Black schools, the latter of which were inferior in resources and infrastructure.  This front page from August 1, 1968 announces the resulting court order that mandated desegregation. With an enrollment of 74.5% Black and 25.5% white students, Northampton County Schools were required to assign students to schools based on geography. Faculty were also desegregated, and the local Black high school, Willis Hare, was closed. After the partial integration of the high schools, a plan for lower grades followed in June 1969 (above).

To view all issues issues of the Northampton County Times-News available on our website, please click here.

To view more newspapers from around North Carolina, please visit our North Carolina Newspapers Collection here.

To learn more about the Northampton County Museum, please visit their website.


Additional Issues of the Winston-Salem Chronicle, Including Ones that Discuss the Darryl Hunt Case, Now Available on DigitalNC

Winston-Salem Chronicle header. Above the header is bright red text saying Sunday Edition.

Thanks to our partner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a batch of fill-in issues of the Winston-Salem Chronicle spanning from 1975 to 2013 are now available on our website. Included among the issues added were February 7, 1985 and June 27, 1985. These particular issues are notable for their articles written on the Darryl Hunt, a Black Winston-Salem man who was falsely convicted of murdering (among other charges) Deborah Sykes in 1985.

The Winston-Salem Chronicle staff was among the many community members that voiced their concerns over the arrest of Darryl Hunt. In the February 7, 1985 issue of the paper, executive editor Allen H. Johnson writes a large, three page article on the case, using every inch of the pages to humanize Hunt and point out the inconsistencies of the case.

In the article, Johnson includes several interviews from community members and organizations such as Alderman Larry Little, Hunt’s uncle William Johnson, and the NAACP. In these interviews, many community members mention their shock and vehement disbelief that Hunt could have committed murder. Even Hunt’s sixth grade teacher was interviewed, saying: “‘I cried like a baby because I knew he wasn’t guilty,’ […] I know that kid and there’s no way …. I’d bet my life on it that he isn’t capable of this horrendous crime.'”

Despite inconsistencies, lack of concrete evidence, and efforts by the community, Hunt was convicted and sentenced to life in prison on June 14, 1985. In 1989 however, the North Carolina Supreme Court overturned the previous conviction due to the original prosecutors introducing false statements made by Hunt’s at-the-time girlfriend which she recanted before the initial trial. On appeal, Hunt was released on bond and offered a plea bargain where he would be sentenced to the time he had already served (five years) for a guilty plea. Hunt rejected the bargain and went through a retrial. He was again convicted and sentenced to life in prison. 

After the second conviction, Hunt’s attorneys Mark Rabil and Ben Dowling-Sendor filed for the DNA gathered from the crime scene to be tested. The results came back in October of 1994 and determined that the DNA did not match Hunt’s. Despite the results, requests for an appeal were rejected. The reasoning given for the denied appeal was that new evidence was not absolute proof that Hunt was not involved.

Ten years after learning that the DNA did not belong to Hunt, authorities ran the crime scene DNA through the state’s database. It was discovered that the DNA actually belonged to Willard E. Brown, a man who was already incarcerated for another murder. Finally, after serving 19 years in prison, Darryl Hunt was exonerated on February 6, 2004.

To read more issues of the Winston-Salem Chronicle, please click here.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please click here.

To learn more about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, please visit their website.

Information about the Darryl Hunt case was gathered from Phoebe Zerwick’s Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt, the Innocence Project, and DigitalNC graduate assistant Sophie Hollis.


Additional Chatham County Architectural Photographs and Funeral Programs Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Chatham County Historical Association, over 600 architectural images of Chatham County and 64 funeral programs are now available to view on our website. The architectural images are particularly interesting. They cover a broad variety of building types and ages including houses, businesses, churches, masonic lodges, and schools all the way back to the 16th century. Below is a small sample of the different types of buildings that were photographed in Chatham County.

Built circa 1850, the Haughton-McIver House is a beautiful two-story home. Some of its features include a five-bay facade, six-over-six sash windows, symmetrically molded corner boards, and a central entry composed of paneled double-leaf doors framed by transom and sidelights.

The Chatham County courthouse, built in the 1880s and still standing today, is a two-story rectangular brick structure. The structure’s dominant feature is a classical two-story portico crowned with distinctive three-stage cupola.

The former Hinton-Beckwith School, built around 1930 near Farrington, is an especially important landmark for the area’s Black community. Beginning in the earliest part of the 20th century and continuing for 40 years, the school served as a place where Black individuals in the community would go to learn. The building’s rectangular structure is set off by three recessed double-leaf entrances that are surmounted by transom and framed by rows of tall nine-over-nine sash windows. Other features include a main entrance marked by sidelights and protected by a portico.

To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association, please visit their website.

To view more architecture materials available on DigitalNC, please click here.

To view more funeral programs from the Chatham County Historical Association, please view our Chatham County Funeral Program Exhibit.


New Winston-Salem Chronicle Issues Now Available

Winston Salem Chronicle header. Under the newspaper name it reads: serving the Winston-Salem community since 1974.

Thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, issues that fill in previous holes in our site’s holding of the Winston-Salem Chronicle from 1975 to 1982 are now available on our website.

Since 1974, the Winston-Salem Chronicle has published weekly issues that focus primarily on news about and events in Winston-Salem’s Black community.

To view all issues issues of the Winston-Salem Chronicle available on our website, please click here.

To view more newspapers from around North Carolina, please visit our North Carolina Newspapers Collection here.

To learn more about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, please visit their website.


William Hooper Court Summonses and Additional Chatham County High School Yearbooks Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Chatham County Historical Association, batches containing three Moncure and Pittsboro High School yearbooks as well as court summonses signed by William Hooper are now available on our website. These court summonses, created three years before the American Revolution began, are some of the oldest primary source documents available on DigitalNC.

During his position as Chatham County’s first Clerk of Court, William Hooper executed a myriad of legal documents. Over the years, three of these legal documents were donated to the Chatham County Historical Association where they were held until 2022. In March 2022, the historical association learned that the Hooper court summonses should have originally been transferred to the State Archives since they are responsible for the preservation of records from all counties, state agencies, and government offices in North Carolina—no matter how old the material. After contacting the State Archives, a representative came to collect the three court summonses from the association. At the State Archives the court summonses are being curated and properly preserved. To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association’s experience with the State Archives, please read the association’s post here

William Hooper was one of North Carolina’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence and the North Carolina representative member of the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1777. After graduating from Harvard College in 1760 at the age of 18, Hooper went on to study law under James Otis. In 1764, he temporarily settled in Wilmington, North Carolina to begin practicing law. Popular with the people of the area, he was elected recorder of the borough two years after his arrival in 1766. From May 1771 to November 1772, Hooper served as Chatham County’s first Clerk of Court despite never living in the county. In the years leading up to the American Revolution, Hooper traveled across North Carolina as a lawyer, was appointed deputy attorney general of the Salisbury District, and officially entered into the political world when he represented the Scots settlement of what is currently named Fayetteville in the Provincial Assembly in 1773. In the years leading up to the American Revolution, Hooper traveled across North Carolina as a lawyer, was appointed deputy attorney general of the Salisbury District, and officially entered into the political world when he represented the Scots settlement of what is currently named Fayetteville in the Provincial Assembly in 1773.

On July 21, 1774, he was elected chairman and presided over the selection of a committee to a call for the First Provincial Congress. When the Congress met, Hooper was chosen as one of three delegates that would represent the state of North Carolina at the First Continental Congress. Over the next two years Hooper served as a delegate for both the Provincial and Continental Congress on various committees including one that was in charge of stating the rights of colonies, one that reported on legal statutes affecting trade and commerce in the colonies, Thomas Jefferson’s committee to compose the Declaration of Independence, a committee for the regulation of the secret correspondence, and many more. Despite Hooper’s triumphs in the political sphere early in the revolution, his return to Wilmington in early 1777 due to contracting yellow fever began a steady decline for his political career and, consequently, his health.

Hooper attended the General Assembly, serving on multiple committees as the member for Wilmington each year from 1777 until the city was taken over by the British in 1781. Considered a fugitive by the British, Hooper hopped to various friends houses in the Windsor-Edenton area while his wife Anne and children fled to Hillsborough. Reunited in 1782 in Hillsborough, the family was permanently removed to the backcountry where they remained out of touch with national and state current events. In that same year, Hooper’s election to General Assembly as member for Wilmington was declared invalid (presumably since he was now in Hillsborough). The following year, he ran for the General Assembly’s Hillsborough seat and lost. In spite of this loss, Hooper ran again in 1784 and was this time elected. He would serve in the General Assembly as a representative for Hillsborough until 1786.

Although he enjoyed some political success since he left Philadelphia in 1777, Hooper was devastated when he was not elected a delegate to the 1788 Constitutional Convention. Certainly adding to his feelings of discontent, the convention met at Hillsborough’s St. Matthew’s Church, which was within sight and sound of Hooper’s house. As a result of what he saw as a failure, Hooper began to drown his feelings of disappointment in rum. At the age of 48, Hooper died the evening before his daughter’s marriage in 1790.

 

To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association’s experience with the State Archives, please read the association’s post here.

To learn more about the Chatham County Historical Association, please visit their website.

For more yearbooks from across North Carolina, visit our yearbook collection.

To learn about William Hooper’s life in more depth, please view NCpedia’s entry on William Hooper.

Information in this blog post was taken from the NCpedia William Hooper entry.


New Partner, Cherryville Historical Museum, and Additional Issues of The Eagle Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to funding from the State Library of North Carolina’s LSTA Grant and our newest partner, Cherryville Historical Museum, addition issues of The Eagle (Cherryville, N.C.) from 1942 to 1956 are now available on our website. The articles from this batch primarily focus on World War II, providing updates on local citizens in the military, battles, directives from the federal government, and advertisements for war fundraising efforts.

The Cherryville Historical Museum is located in Cherryville, North Carolina. Their mission is to preserve, protect, and exhibit the city’s history. The museum features several exhibits on the Cherryville’s history from the early 1800s to today. Some of the museum’s exhibits include toys made by Lloyd Stroup, the old jail, farm equipment, ladies wear, the potato house, and much more.

To learn more about the Cherryville Historical Museum, please visit their website.

To view all issues of The Eagle, please click here.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please click here.


1936-1937 Issues of the People’s Rights Bulletin Now Available on DigitalNC

People's Rights Bulletin header. The subheading reads: published by the Southern Committee for People's Rights, Chapel Hill, N.C., January, 1936.

Thanks to our partner, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, four issues of the People’s Rights Bulletin spanning 1936 and 1937 are now available on our website.

The paper was written by an organization called the Southern Committee for People’s Rights. The organization’s primary objectives during this time were to insure that all people had access to the same constitutional rights, to support constructive legislation, reduce the social tension that led to coercion and terrorization of disadvantaged people, and to oppose the program of organizations that employed “vigilante” methods to accomplish its purpose (e.g. the Ku Klux Klan).

In an effort to raise awareness of civil rights issues, the Southern Committee for People’s Rights published the People’s Rights Bulletin. In the paper they discussed cases and activities related to civil rights in the South. For example, these 1936-1937 issues feature articles discussing Memphis, T.N. teachers being denied the right to organize, Senator Robert M. LaFollette’s Senate Resolution 266, Arkansas share croppers defending their civil rights, and much more. 

To learn more about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, please visit their website.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please click here.


Vance County Students’ Yearly Record Envelopes Now Available on DigitalNC

Thanks to our partner, Henderson Institute Historical Museum, yearly record envelopes for African American students who attended Vance County schools with last names A through Z are now available on our website

These envelopes, filled with a multitude of information, are a great resource for researchers and individuals looking to learn more about Vance County residents, students, and schools. The front of the envelopes include a students’ name, address, date of birth, years they attended school, which Vance County school they went to, how many days they attended, if they were promoted, and noted if they moved out of the county.

Due to the inclusion of medical records and other sensitive personal information, the content within the envelopes were not digitized. If you are interested in learning more about the documents inside of the envelopes, please reach out to the Henderson Institute Historical Museum for more information.

To learn more about the Henderson Institute Historical Museum, please visit their website.

To view more materials from North Carolina’s African American high schools, please view our North Carolina African American High Schools Collection.


Additional Issues of The Roanoke News Now Available

Header for The Roanoke News. It reads: The Roanoke News. Established in 1866--Serving Halifax and North [H]ampton counties.

Thanks to funding from the State Library of North Carolina’s LSTA Grant and our partner, Halifax County Library System, new issues of The Roanoke News from 1923 to 1944 are now available on our website. This expands our current holding of the paper from 1878 to 1944. The paper, published weekly, primarily features articles on local, North Carolina news such as the completion of the Wright Memorial Bridge.

Prior to 1931, individuals looking to visit North Carolina’s Outer Banks, or those wishing to visit Dare’s county seat in Manteo, would have had a rather long trip ahead of them. In 1921, the General Assembly passed a $50 million bond issue that was to be used for improving and paving roads that would connect county seats. In addition to these new roads, several concrete bridges were constructed that shortened the distance between places significantly. One of the bridges constructed under the bond was the Wright Memorial Bridge. In April of 1931, the Wright Memorial Bridge was finally opened to the public after 10 years of construction. The bridge spans the entire three mile width across Currituck Sound, connecting Point Harbor to the Outer Banks. The bridge still enjoys heavy usage almost 100 years later.

To learn more about the Halifax County Library System, please visit their website.

To view more newspapers from across North Carolina, please click here.