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.

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Viewing entries tagged "underrepresented"


New Photos Added from Johnson C. Smith University

Five new large format photographs have been added to DigitalNC’s image collection thanks to our partners at Johnson C. Smith University. A historically black university, Johnson C. Smith University has been a fixture in Charlotte, North Carolina since 1867.

As these new photos are all from the early 1900s, you may notice an institution name change between the image titles. First established as Biddle Memorial Institute, Johnson C. Smith University was known as Biddle University between 1876 and 1923 before arriving at its current name.

Several of these images capture traditional university moments, such as graduation, class photos, and reunions.

Of note is a panoramic photo taken during a 1929 rivalry baseball game. This candid shot of the crowd avidly watching an Easter Monday match between Johnson C. Smith University and Livingstone College depicts just how well attended baseball games were at the time.

As would have been well known in the early 1900s, white baseball teams barred black players from joining their leagues, effectively segregating the sport. Black communities thus formed their own professional baseball leagues, culminating in a national organization known as the Negro National League, organized by Andrew (Rube) Foster in 1920. Baseball continued to be a popular and lucrative enterprise for the black community throughout the mid-1900s, splitting into western and eastern circuits. The last of the leagues folded in 1962. While Johnson C. Smith University no longer has a baseball team, spectators can still enjoy following the women’s softball team, the Golden Bulls.

To see the newest photos in their entirety, click here. To view all images from Johnson C. Smith University, click here. And to learn more about Johnson C. Smith University, you can visit their home page here.


Biography of Charlotte Community Activist and Second Ward High School Yearbooks Now Online!

Thanks to our partner, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, we now have a batch of yearbooks and a digitized book available on our website. The yearbooks span the years 1966-1968 and are from Second Ward Senior High School in Charlotte, N.C. The book is a photographic history of Charlotte native T.D. Elder, entitled T.D. Elder Living Images: Charlotte’s Triumphant Warrior for Black History.

Second Ward Senior High School was established in 1923 as the first public high school for black students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. Before this school was established, black students in the area had to move to other areas in order to get a high school education. In the early 1970s, the school was closed and the building was demolished. As was the case in most Southern cities, formerly all-black high schools were usually torn down or repurposed after school segregation legally ended. Black students were then bused to formerly all-white schools in order to achieve integration. However, the legacy of the school lives on as an important symbol in the history of the black community of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. For more information about Second Ward Senior High School, visit this online exhibit by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library.

The cover of the 1968 edition of the Second Ward High School yearbook.

Thereasea Clark Elder was born in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 2, 1927. For over eighty years, she served her community as a nurse and community activist. In her lifetime, Elder established both the Greenville Historical Society and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Heritage Committee. A number of Charlotte institutions have been named in her honor, including the Thereasea C. Elder Community Health Leadership Academy and the Thereasea Clark Elder Neighborhood Park. For more information about Thereasea Clark Elder and her groundbreaking life and work, there is a 2014 article from the Charlotte Observer dedicated to her story, which can be accessed here.

The cover of T.D. Elder Living Images: Charlotte’s Triumphant Warrior for Black History.

For more information about the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, please visit their website.


Additional issues of Raleigh’s The Carolinian Newspaper from the Civil Rights Era now Online

April 13, 1968 front page of The Carolinian

The April 13, 1968 front page of The Carolinian, reporting on the aftermath of Dr. King’s assassination.

The newest issues to DigitalNC of one of Raleigh’s African American newspapers, The Carolinian, cover the most turbulent years of the Civil Rights Era. Recently added are issues from 1959-1962, 1965-1972. These join issues from 1945-1958, 1963-1964, which are already available on our site. 

Within these new additions you will find coverage of the sit-ins in Greensboro and throughout the state, North Carolina’s protracted battle over school integration, the assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.. There is ongoing reporting about both local and national efforts of the NAACP, KKK demonstrations and counter-protests, and news about boycotts and protests at the state’s historically black colleges and universities.

The paper covers local news – achievements of adults and children alike, events, crime. Milestones of integration appear as well, like the first known birth of an African American child at Rex Hospital in Raleigh.

Thanks to Olivia Raney Local History Library in Raleigh for securing permission to share The Carolinian online. You can view all of the issues currently available, as well as everything we’ve scanned for Olivia Raney on their contributor page.


Additional Oral Histories from Hmong Keeb Kwm: Hmong Heritage Project Now Online at DigitalNC

Chia Yang shows a pillow from her home in Vietnam during oral history interview.

Chia Yang displaying a pillow during an oral history interview.

Nearly a dozen oral histories from Hmong Keeb Kwm: The Hmong Heritage Project are now online, courtesy of our partner, the Catawba County Library. The project, designed to preserve the local histories of the Hmong people living in North Carolina, yielded over a hundred digitized materials and oral histories, which we are privileged to host online. This batch oral histories represent the second half of the Hmong Keeb Kwm materials already hosted on DigitalNC.

Throughout the spring and summer of 2018, several Hmong community members came forward and volunteered their stories in order to preserve the story of how they came to Catawba County and North Carolina. The people interviewed often tell their life stories, how they came to the United States, and how they are involved in the local Hmong community. Many also include their experiences during the Vietnam War.

Please note that many of these oral histories are not in English. However, transcriptions in English are available to download. First, navigate to the bottom of the video’s page, then click the “Download” button, then “Download” under “Action”.

Having these oral histories digitized on DigitalNC represents an important part of our understanding of Catawba County and its residents. To see other materials from the Catawba County Library, visit their partner page or check out their website. To learn more about Hmong Keeb Kwm: The Hmong Heritage Project, please take a look at the exhibit page.


Massey Hill Heritage Discovery Project Materials Tell The Story of One Fayetteville Neighborhood

A partial map of the Mill Villages found in Massey Hill.

Over 120 new photos, news clippings, artifacts, and oral interviews have been digitized and added to DigitalNC, courtesy of the Arts Council of Fayetteville, as part of the Massey Hill Heritage Discovery Project. This project was designed to trace the history of the Massey Hill neighborhood in Fayetteville dating back into the 19th century. Located between Camden Road and Gillespie Street along Southern Avenue, Massey Hill is a neighborhood that grew up alongside the three local textile mills and inspired feelings of family and community among its long-time residents, many of whom lived their whole lives in Massey Hill.

Exterior photo of the Massey Hill Hardware Store

A photo of the Tolar-Hart Mill Water Tower in Fayetteville.

 

There is a ton of variety in this batch, giving us a vibrant image of what it was like to live and grow up in Massey Hill. Dozens of photos are included, with many highlighting life in the mills, events and celebrations that were held for holidays, and pictures of local schools and schoolchildren. A number of newspaper clippings are also found in this batch, detailing many different parts of life in Massey Hill, including interviews with local residents. One resident, Ida Belle Dallas Parker, also wrote several short stories reminiscing on her childhood and family history in Massey Hill. Finally, a number of oral histories from Massey Hill residents are included – they also discuss their personal histories growing up in Massey Hill, how they feel about the neighborhood, and what it meant to them.

Having these materials on DigitalNC is an important reminder of how we build communities in our lives and what they mean to the people who live there. To browse through other materials from the Arts Council of Fayetteville, check out their partner page or take a look at their website.


Hmong Keeb Kwm: Hmong Heritage Project Materials Now Online at DigitalNC

Ten individuals in uniform standing in a group facing forward

A photo of Hmong soldiers graduating from pilot training in November 1973

two individuals in military uniform looking at the camera

Nao Chao Lo and Nhia Thong Yang in their military uniforms, circa 2018

Over a hundred photographs, documents, artifacts, oral histories, and other materials from Hmong Keeb Kwm: The Hmong Heritage Project are now online, courtesy of the Catawba County Library. This new batch represents the first materials on DigitalNC to come from the Catawba County Library. This collection also has the honor of being the first to represent the Hmong people of North Carolina on our website.

There is a huge amount of variety in the materials in this batch. It contains dozens of photographs of physical objects to DigitalNC, including colorful embroidered material, Laotian and Thai currency, bracelets and jewelry, and more. Text materials, like personal records, newspaper clippings, and program certificates are also included. A number of photographs of Hmong individuals, their family members, and their personal lives are also found in this collection. Finally, several oral histories are also included in this collection, allowing people to tell about their experience of coming to the United States. These oral histories are both available as audio files and as written transcripts.

Having these materials on DigitalNC represents an important addition to our understanding of Catawba County, and allows us to continue in our mission to digitize materials from all communities throughout the state. To see other materials from the Catawba County Library, visit their partner page or check out their website.


Newly Digitized Materials from Winston Salem’s African-American Community Now Online

 

Vacation Bible School Group Photo

A group photograph taken at Shiloh Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School. June 1958.

We have added materials that capture some of Winston Salem’s rich African-American history from 1930 to 1990, courtesy of the Winston Salem African American Archive.

Included in this batch are several editions of The Columbian, the student newspaper for Columbian Heights High School, and articles from other local papers highlighting notable community members and events.

One such community member, Joseph Bradshaw was a veteran, social worker, educator and local historian, committed to preserving Black history in the city and beyond. Other articles detail firsts in Winston Salem’s African-American community: William Samel Scales opened the first black-owned bonding agency and later served as the president of Forsyth Savings and Trust. Naomi McLean opened the first black business and stenographer school in Winston Salem. Carl Matthews began the Winston-Salem sit-in on February 8, 1960. Other articles detail the 1947 Local 22 Tobacco Workers strike at the R.J. Reynolds Factory.

Color portraits of Mary Hairston and Dr. Rufus Hairston

Color portraits of Mrs. Mary Hairston and Dr. Rufus S. Hairston. Dr. Hairston was Winston Salem’s first African-American pharmacist.

Also included in these materials are color portraits of Dr. and Mrs. Rufus S. Hairston and a scrapbook of materials collected by Mrs. Hairston. The Hairstons were both alumni of Slater Industrial Academy, now known as Winston Salem State University, and active members of their community. Dr. Hairston was Winston Salem’s first African-American pharmacist, an alumnus of Shaw University, president of the National Pharmaceutical Association, and was appointed WSSU’s first alumni board of trustee member. Mrs. Hairston served as one of the first presidents of the Winston Salem Chapter of Moles, a national professional organization of women of color, and was a founding member of the Winston Salem Chapter of The Links, Inc. She was also involved in the development of Winston Salem’s first library for African-Americans and later worked in the WSSU library.

To learn more about the Winston Salem African American Archive, visit their website or partner page.


New Yearbooks From Rowan County High Schools

We have added nearly 50 yearbooks to our collection thanks to our partner Rowan Public Library. These yearbooks are from two Rowan County schools — Price High School in Salisbury N.C. and China Grove High School — and are especially unique in that they capture student life at two schools that existed only for a few decades.

Campus Photo

Price High School’s main building from the 1960 edition of the Pricean.

Ruth E. Miller

The 1943 Pricean Yearbook was dedicated to two teachers who joined the U.S. military.

Price High School was Salisbury’s African-American high school from 1932 until 1969, when integration led to the closing of the school and the opening of today’s Salisbury High School. Included in this batch of yearbooks are seventeen editions of The Pricean, the annual from Price High School.  These yearbooks include the usual contents of high school yearbooks — superlatives, group photos, class poems — but also notable graduates and the final class’ words of farewell and gratitude to the school. They also encapsulate notable events that occurred between 1943 and 1969.

One such historic event was World War Two, which was emphasized by the 1943 Pricean’s dedication. The yearbook was dedicated to Auxillary Ruth E. Miller and Seargeant James C. Simpson, both of whom were graduates of and teachers at Price High School before joining the U.S. Army. Ruth E. Miller was the first black member of Salisbury’s Women’s Army Auxillary Corps while James C. Simpson was the first teacher from Price High School to join the U.S. army.

China Grove High School’s yearbook, The Parrot, captures some of the early years of the merging of the Rowan County Farm Life School with the city’s main high school that took place in the summer of 1921. According to the Eura Jones, a member of China Grove High’s 1924 class, China Grove High School “was the largest rural high school in the state” in 1921, and only continued to grow. She goes on to detail the school’s continued growth, boasting “two music departments, a teacher training department, glee clubs, four societies, a dramatic club, ball teams, a home economics club, athletics, agriculture, and most of all, the construction of a new three story building to house the growing school.” The yearbooks added to our digital collection span the years from 1923 to 1961.

China Grove High Architectural Drawing

Plans for China Grove High School’s Expanding Campus, completed by Architect Charles C. Hook.

These yearbooks are only a fraction of the materials we have digitized for the Rowan Public Library. To learn more about the Rowan Public Library, check out their partner page or their website.

Student Life From the 1956 Pricean.

Price High’s Driver’s Education Class, Cheering Squad, and First Year Industrial Arts Class from the 1956 Pricean.

Price High School – Salisbury, N.C.  
The Pricean [1943]
The Pricean [1947]
The Pricean [1949]
The Pricean [1952]
The Pricean [1954]
The Pricean [1955]
The Pricean [1956]
The Pricean [1957]
The Pricean [1958]
The Pricean [1959]
The Pricean [1960]
The Pricean [1961]
The Pricean [1962]
The Pricean [1965]
The Pricean [1966]
The Pricean [1967]
The Pricean [1968]
The Pricean [1969]

China Grove High School – China Grove, N.C.
The Parrot [1923]
The Parrot [1924]
The Parrot [1930]
The Parrot [1931]
The Parrot [1932]
The Parrot [1933]
The Parrot [1935]
The Parrot [1936]
The Parrot [1937]
The Parrot [1938]
The Parrot [1939]
The Parrot [1940]
The Parrot [1941]
The Parrot [1942]
The Parrot [1943]
The Parrot [1944]
The Parrot [1945]
The Parrot [1947]
The Parrot [1948]
The Parrot [1949]
The Parrot [1950]
The Parrot [1951]
The Parrot [1952]
The Parrot [1953]
The Parrot [1954]
The Parrot [1955]
The Parrot [1956]
The Parrot [1957]
The Parrot [1958]
The Parrot [1959]
The Parrot [1960]
The Parrot [1961]


Newly Digitized Materials About the Junaluska Community from Watauga County Public Library

A January 2014 article in WNC Magazine detailing the Junaluska community

Dozens of new documents, photos, and artifacts have been newly digitized at DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner, the Watauga County Public Library. They all detail the Junaluska community, a neighborhood where a large number of longtime African-American families of Boone live. Many families also belong to the Mennonite Brethren Church, making it the only Mennonite Brethren church with the majority of members being African-American. Click here to view the newly digitized files.

A 2012 article in the Watauga Democrat celebrating the inaugural Junaluska Jubilee

Included in the new batch of digitized artifacts are several journal articles about the Mennonite Church in Boone, local documents, ancestral generation charts, and newspaper articles about the local community and local figures, including the pastor for the Mennonite Brethren Church. Also included are photos and advertisements for the Junaluska Jubilee, a celebration of the Junaluska community. Finally, there is also an audio clip included about the Junaluska community, including segments on segregation, the civil rights movement, and school integration, narrated by local residents.  

You can learn more about the Watauga County Public Library by visiting the contributor page on DigitalNC or by visiting the homepage. This collection is part of our effort to digitize materials related to underrepresented communities.  To learn more about our underrepresented initiative, go here.  


New Photographs and Documents from Randolph County Now Online

Outside view of the Strieby Congregational Church in Asheboro, N.C.

A new batch of photographs from Randolph County have been digitized and are now online at DigitalNC, courtesy of our partner Randolph County Public Library. Included is nearly a dozen photos from various people and places in Randolph County, including Strieby and Asheboro.  The materials are part of our effort to highlight underrepresented groups in North Carolina.  

A 2013 newspaper article announcing a plaque to memorialize the sit-ins in Randolph County

There are also several documents that have been digitized, including interviews and newspaper articles that stretch from the 1950s to 2013. They primarily cover the civil rights movement in Randolph County, including sit-ins at the Walgreens, Hop’s Bar-B-Que and a theatre in Asheboro.

Several of the articles are about the commemoration of a plaque in Asheboro to memorialize the sit-in campaigns throughout Randolph County. Reading these articles help give us perspective on the long lasting change and impact of the civil rights movement in North Carolina.

Articles about the growing Latino community in Asheboro and Randolph county are also included and can be seen here.

The photos from Randolph County are available here, and the articles are available here. To view more photos and documents from Randolph County Public Library, click here to view their partner page, or take a look at their website.