Man on a lawnmower in front of homes on Cleveland Ave., 1958
Back in May, when the NCDHC staff went to Winston-Salem to do a day of on-site scanning with the Winston Salem African American Archive, the bulk of our scanning was over 200 slides that showed construction of public housing units built by the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem, as well as some slides that showed the areas of “urban decay” that were replaced with these developments in initial urban renewal efforts in the city that started in the late 1940s. The housing complexes photographed include Cleveland Avenue homes (built in the mid 1950s as one of Winston-Salem’s first public housing communities), Sunrise Towers, Crystal Towers, the 14th Street Community Center, Northwood Estates, and the Castle Heights neighborhood.
Woman walking with two children in Winston-Salem. The slide was included in a section that stated “conditions before redevelopment”. Ca. 1950
See all the slides we scanned from the WSAAA here. To learn more about the archive, visit their website.
Main Street in Robbinsville
In June, the staff from the NC Digital Heritage Center drove over 5 hours – almost to the Tennessee border! – to spend a few days scanning on site at the Graham County Public Library. A beautiful part of the state, we not only enjoyed meeting our new partner, seeing their collections, and even getting to sit in on a mountain music lesson at the library, but also getting to know a part of NC we don’t often get to. The majority of materials we scanned for Graham County were photographs of the logging industry and dam building that built up the western part of the state in the early to mid 20th century and the people who built the towns that supported these operations.
Man standing on a bridge near Cheoah Dam
Train hauling logs
With these scans now online, we have added a new partner and new county to DigitalNC! To learn more about Graham County Public Library visit their partner page.
More issues of the Highlands High School student newspaper, The Mountain Trail, are now online, adding issues from 1947, 1976, 1979 and 1982. These additions help fill in gaps in our already online coverage from 1938 to 1982. Three of the issues are specifically the graduation issues of the paper and focus on the senior graduating class. The June 1, 1976 issue devoted a full page to each senior.
Songs that fit each graduating senior from the June 1976 issue
The lower grades had news in the paper too. This is from the September 1979 issue.
To learn more about our partner Highlands Historical Society, visit their partner page. You can read previous posts on the Mountain Trail here and visit our North Carolina Newspapers page to view more papers from across the state.
Front page of the February 18, 1993 issue of the Charlotte Post, with a focus on Black History Month
Issues of the Charlotte Post, an African American newspaper out of Charlotte, are now online, thanks to partner Johnson C. Smith University. The Charlotte Post was founded in 1878 and is a weekly publication. It still is published today, with the tagline, “The Voice of the Black Community.”
The first issues that we are making available online on DigitalNC cover 1988-1990, 1993, and 1996. Issues affecting the black community in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the wider nation are all discussed in the 30 plus pages of each issue of the paper, from politics, including the runs of several black politicians in local and state government, as well as Jesse Jackson’s run for president in 1988, issues with the Charlotte Mecklenburg school district, especially for black students, and a multitude of other topics, many of which will seem not so different from the topics of today.
To view more materials from Johnson C. Smith University, go here. To view more of our newspapers, visit here.
Ten issues of the student newspaper from the Henderson Institute are now on DigitalNC. The Henderson Institute was founded in 1891 with the goal of educating the black community. It was funded by the United Presbyterian Church. The school closed in 1970 but maintains an active alumni group and our partner, the Henderson Institute Historical Museum stands on the original grounds of the school in Henderson, NC.
Editorial in the 1941 Campus Herald discussing the inconsistency of the US policy abroad and at home
The topics covered in the paper include events happening at the school, topics of study in classes at the school, as well as important events in the black community both locally and nationally. The issues of the paper span 1937 through 1969, showing the evolution of the school in the middle of the 20th century, including some very interesting papers from the World War II era where there is discussion by the students of the juxtaposition of the United States push for liberty abroad while race relations on the home front remained fraught. The early papers published in the 1930s were done under the direction of the English department but later issues appear to be have been produced by a specific group of the student body independently at the school.
The introduction of Student Council at the Henderson Institute in 1969
To learn more about the Henderson Institute Historical Museum visit their partner page or their website. To see more newspapers from across North Carolina, visit our newspaper page.
Yesterday, on April 18, a new historical marker was unveiled in Pender County honoring the farming community of Van Eeden. Van Eeden was located north of Burgaw and was owned by Hugh MacRae, who tried to start a farm colony with Dutch settlers there in the early 1900s that was named for Frederik Van Eeden, a Dutch psychiatrist and author, who helped MacRae recruit Dutch immigrants.
We digitized a pamphlet that was put out in the Netherlands to promote the colony in 1913. The pamphlet is in Dutch and English.
The colony was not very successful, but in the late 1930s, it fulfilled a new purpose. Alvin Johnson, the founder of the New School in New York, was working hard to bring as many Jewish refugees from Germany as possible, but was having difficulty working through the rules of the State Department. He found a loophole in the law though; there was no quota on those who came as farm workers. Working with MacRae, Johnson brought several Jewish families to Van Eeden to escape the Nazis. Susan Block wrote a book about the experience of those families who came from Germany and adjusting to life on a farm in eastern North Carolina titled Van Eeden, which we digitized as well.
To learn more about our partner Pender County Public Library, visit their partner page. And to learn more about Van Eeden, visit the great libguide built by Pender County Public Library.
A few weeks ago, our partner Wayne County Public Library brought three over-sized materials for us to scan here at the NCDHC while they waited. The items were a beautiful map of Goldsboro from 1881, and two posters related the building campaign for a memorial building in honor of those from Wayne County who died in World War I.
While we scanned these items, folks from UNC Communications stopped by to see us in action. You can see the footage they shot of our scanning processes here.
Learn more about our partner Wayne County Public Library on their partner page, or on the Wayne County Public Library website.
Last summer we hosted students from a middle school in Wilmington who did extensive research on the 1898 riots in Wilmington. They came along with staff from the Cape Fear Museum, who brought the issues of the Wilmington Daily Record the museum held. We scanned those newspapers on site, along with clippings from papers around the state and country with articles about the riots. To learn more about their visit, read the post we did about it during the summer during the summer here.
This fall, as a continuing part of our work with this group, we were pleased to make available 16 newspapers published in Wilmington during the 19th century, ranging in dates from 1803 to 1901. Some of the papers have several years of content available and several have just an issue or two. But together, they paint a rich picture of what life in Wilmington looked like during the 1800s and the wide variety of political viewpoints that were held in the city, and North Carolina as a whole. The papers shed light on a port town that was instrumental in the Civil War and in the politics of Reconstruction afterwards, which culminated in the infamous riots of 1898.
The news in Wilmington, as told in the Cape Fear Herald, published on Nov. 4, 1803
The sixteen papers now available are:
The Cape Fear Herald
The True Republican or American Whig
The Liberalist and Wilmington Reporter
Wilmington Advertiser and
Merchants’ and Farmers’ Gazette
Sunday Morning Mail
The New Era
The Wilmington Gazette
The Wilmington Post
The Evening Post
The Daily Review
The Weekly Star
The Wilmington Democrat
The New South
The Wilmington Dispatch
View other newspapers on DigitalNC here.
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.
Madlin Futrell and a police officer walk down Fayetteville Street in Raleigh in the late 1950s
Back in August, DigitalNC was excited to road-trip over to Raleigh and test out our plan for onsite digitization at the City of Raleigh Museum whose staff kindly agreed to be our pilot location. The collection we worked on while there was the Madlin Futrell Photograph Collection, a great collection of photographs primarily from the 1950s. Madlin Futrell was a professional photographer who lived in Cary, NC and worked for the Raleigh Times, the North Carolina Office of Archives and History (now part of the North Carolina Department of Cultural and Natural Resources), and on a contract basis for several other institutions. The photographs we digitized include location photographs of the Raleigh area, employees in the NC Office of Archives and History, historic sites around the state, and of President Eisenhower’s visit to the state in 1958. They offer not only a look at places around NC in the 1950s but also a look at the life of a career woman in mid 20th century North Carolina.
Staff of the Hall of History in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photograph was taken in April 1960.
To view all the photographs digitized from the Futrell collection, go here. To view other photographs on DigitalNC, visit our Images of North Carolina site here. And if you’re interested in learning more about our onsite digitization program, please read about it here and apply if interested!