We are excited to announce that the final issues of The Carolina Timesare now available on the DigitalNC website! Our site now hosts 3,811 total issues of the Durham-based African-American newspaper spanning from 1937 to 2020. With the publication of its final issue in 2020, The Carolina Times cemented its long legacy of promoting the interests of the Black community in Durham and across the nation. Thanks to funding from UNC Libraries’ IDEA grants over the past 3 years, we have been able to complete this work and expand access to this important piece of North Carolina history.
The paper shuttered after the death of its longtime publisher Kenneth Edmonds at the age of 66. Edmonds was the grandson of founder Louis Austin. Described as “the most important voice for freedom in Durham and in North Carolina” from the 1920s through the 1970s, Austin was a staunch advocate for Durham’s Black community and a powerful force behind local voter registration and school integration efforts. His descendants continued his work, as Edmonds and his mother Vivian “didn’t miss an edition” in the 1970s, even after a fire believed to be a result of arson destroyed the Carolina Times‘s building. Read more about Louis Austin, Kenneth Edmonds, and the family’s powerful legacy here.
In its final years, The Carolina Times continued to be a voice for social justice, especially through the fraught presidency of Donald Trump and the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is one example of the Carolina Times’s reporting that focuses in on the experience of the Black Americans.
One exciting find in these final issues is a shoutout to none other than DigitalNC! As the below article suggests in what can only be described as a full circle moment, these uploads of The Carolina Times are invaluable to researchers, genealogists, and anyone interested in exploring local issues in Durham’s Black community.
While the closure of The Carolina Times is a loss for North Carolina and the larger Black press landscape, we are honored to make these issues available digitally and contribute to the paper’s preservation. To explore all available issues of The Carolina Times on our website, click here. For a look at other local North Carolina newspapers, click here.
Another decade of issues from The Front Page are now hosted online. This new batch covers from 1997 to 2006, and contains over two hundred new issues! The pages will join a collection that already contains over 300 issues from 1976 to 1996. The addition of this collection stretches The Front Page’s digital coverage well into the twenty first century, up until its final issue.
The Front Page was a Raleigh based newspaper that centered LGBTQ+ experiences, articles, and stories. Its pages contained advertisements for LGBTQ-friendly businesses. Its’ Opinion section collected quotes from interviews with gay and lesbian celebrities. Its Calendar section detailed gathering times for groups, drag shows, and lectures. Often included are cartoons from artists such as Alison Bechdel and Eric Orner. These issues cover a period of increasing recognition for the LGBTQ+ community, but also increasing challenges. They are an essential insight into an often underrepresented history of North Carolina.
Thank you to our partners at Duke University and UNC Charlotte for nominating and working with us for these issues to be digitized. You can read previous blog posts about the history of The Front Page and its’ sister paper, QNotes here.
The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center is pleased to announce that new materials from our generous partners at North Carolina Central University are now available for viewing and research purposes on DigitalNC! The materials consist of publications from historically Black Churches in and around Raleigh, Durham, Henderson and Oxford North Carolina, a handmade scrapbook consisting of newspaper clippings detailing Black law enforcement officers and agents in Durham and educational materials pertaining to The North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, Inc and the North Carolina Teachers Association. These materials give insight into Black life in the region.
The North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, Inc was founded in 1927 with the mission to improve student attendance rates, promote the overall health of students, lengthen the school year (NCpedia). Additionally local chapters raised money to buy land for schools, beautify campus grounds and to purchase musical instruments and other supplemental educational materials (NCpedia). In the 1950’s and 60’s local units garnered the support of radio and V ads along with a membership of over 300,000 participants to meet financial goals (NCpedia). The materials we have from the North Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teacher’s, Inc. are from the mid to late 1960’s. During this time education was still racially segregated by law. However, in 1969 the organization merged with it’s white counterparts and became known as the North Carolina Parent-Teacher’s Association. History of the north Carolina Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers Inc. was gathered from NCpedia.
We have publications for the North Carolina Teachers Association as well. The North Carolina Teachers Association serve African American educators across the state of North Carolina. The organization originated as early as 1881. Educators from across the state would meet annually at various schools for networking and skill sharing sessions. The organization eventually merged with its white counterparts in 1970 when racial segregation ended (NCpedia). We have the a special edition souvenir program from 1970 honoring Mrs. Ruth Braswell Jones, who served as president from 1968-1970. The bulk of materials we have for the North Carolina Teachers Association are standard publications called the Teachers Record that document notable events and accomplishments of Black educators in North Carolina along with their annual conventions. The history of North Carolina Teachers Association was gathered from NCpedia.
You can also browse through materials from historically black churches in and around the region.
One of the biggest moments of the decade? President Obama’s historic election win in 2008. Click here to revisit this incredible moment in United States’ history.
These volumes also offer commentary on a myriad of issues affecting the Black community, both in Durham and nationwide. Prominent topics range from civil rights, societal and political inequality, and police brutality. This newspaper is a rich resource for any researcher and historian.
While the paper reports on national news, it also zooms in on local culture, celebrating joy in the Durham community. Below are selected images from parades, graduations, and other community-wide events.
To explore TheCarolina Times further, click here! And to search through other North Carolina newspapers, click here.
Always fun are the photographs from events attended and held by the NCNW Durham Section such as the 2016 Harambee Old School Gala! The Gala pictures feature members along with their friends and families dressed up and having a great time.
CLOSER is the acronymn for Community Liaison Organization for Support, Education and Reform. According to a newspaper article from April 2020 published in the Mountain Xpress, this organization’s mission was “to serve as a liaison organization between the gay/lesbian community and the larger population, to provide mutual support, education and information regarding problems and concerns of the gay/lesbian community, to work for reform of social prejudices and discrimination practices and attitudes, and to foster for individuals and the community a sense of gay/lesbian identity.”
The paper, particularly in the earlier issues, includes very heartfelt reflections over the accomplishments of those involved in CLOSER. There are always announcements about events, and even lists of birthdays for that month. Coverage of the community members grappling with and documenting discrimination and hate speech is unfortunately a thread. However the paper shows local efforts to mobilize and provide mutual support. Through the 90s and early 2000s, the paper covers even more statewide and national news of impact to those in the community.
Many issues were scanned by the Pack Library in Asheville, which houses the organization’s archives. Some additional issues from the early 90s were added from the collections at UNC-Chapel Hill. You can view other newspapers on our newspaper landing page. Additional materials from the Pack Library can be found on our site as well as in their own digital collections.
The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center is pleased to announce that materials from our new partner Fruit of Labor World Cultural Centerare now available for viewing. Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center is located in Raleigh, NC but there work goes far beyond Raleigh. The digitized materials reflects the organizing efforts of national, local and sub-local chapters of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America labor union. These materials are meant to be used for educational and training purposes. You can view the materials at DigitalNC!
Cover of International Worker Justice Campaign Bulletin, August 2008.
Materials in the collection include information about labor organizing through photographs, newsletters, bulletins, guides and selected literature. There are also Executive Orders from the State of North Carolina that were a result of the organizing efforts for example Executive Order No. 105. This act of legislation is a win for the labor union as they fight for the right to fair practices in the workplace. Inside The International Worker Justice Campaign Bulletin you will find mention of this legislation being passed and announcements about the Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights Campaign.
The United Electrical, Radio and Machine workers of America Local 150: Public Service Workers of North Carolina is rallying for many issues. The Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights Campaign is an ongoing movement fighting for better wages, attendance polices, and safe staffing to name a few, and you check out the related materials on the NCDHC website. To learn about the other campaigns and organizing efforts visit the Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center website.
Constructed in 1918, the Fuquay Consolidated School was one of the first schools to benefit from the Rosenwald Foundation and one of over 800 Rosenwald schools in the state. The following year, in 1919, the school opened its doors to students. A high school department was added in the 1930s, however, it wasn’t until 1952 that the high school building was added to the property. Interestingly, the school did not hold a graduation in 1942 because the senior class of that year elected to return the following year for the newly added 12th grade.
The 1950s were a period of growth and change for the school with a total of 34 faculty members, 11 new buses, modernization of the home economics department, installation of water fountains, new high school building, and the addition of commercial education and a marching band. Eventually grades one through six were moved in 1964 to the newly constructed elementary school, Lincoln Heights Elementary, while grades seven through 12 remained at Fuquay Consolidated High School. The school remained in operation until 1970. Today, the school buildings have been repurposed by the Fuquay-Varina Community Development Corporation (FVCDC) into a childhood learning center and apartments for individuals 55+.
To learn more about and see more materials from North Carolina Community Contributors, visit their contributor page here.
Information about the former Fuquay Consolidated School campus was gathered from the FVCDC, an organization created in 1991 by graduates of Fuquay Consolidated High School and members of the community. To learn more about the FVCDC, visit their website by clicking the link here.
Thanks to our partners at the Edgecombe County Memorial Library, Digital NC has digitized new materials from Tarboro and Edgecombe County, North Carolina. These documents include architectural photographs; minutes, photographs, invitations, and other records from the Edgecombe Magazine Club; a new W.S. Clark ledger from 1909; a scrapbook from the Gettysburg Veterans Reunion of 1913; and a family Bible from the Bridgers family of Edgecombe County.
Additionally, we have added a new collection of materials from Dr. Moses A. Ray (1920-1995), a dentist, mayor, community advocate and leader in Tarboro. Dr. Ray was a graduate of Shaw University and Howard University, where he earned his doctorate in dentistry. After settling in Tarboro in 1946, he helped establish the Edgecombe Credit Union for African-Americans, was a trustee of the Edgecombe Technical Institute, led the East Tarboro Citizens League, was a member of the North Carolina Board of Transportation, and served on the Tarboro Town Council and as the first post-Reconstruction African-American mayor of Tarboro. This list comprises only a portion of the many leadership roles he held in Tarboro over the second half of the twentieth century. His community service was honored with many certificates and plaques that are now available as a part of the collection on Digital NC.
Visitors to the site can also see photographs from throughout Dr. Ray’s life depicting some of his work in the Tarboro community. We have also added a program from a 2015 Phoenix Historical Society educational program honoring his life of service, which further details some of his accomplishments like helping establish low-income housing and paved roads in East Tarboro. The Phoenix Historical Society records and promotes the African-American history of Edgecombe County; researchers can learn more online or in the East Carolina University Manuscript Collection. View the Dr. Moses Ray Collection here and see the rest of our Edgecombe County Memorial Library materials here.
The North Carolina Digital Heritage Center is pleased to announce materials from our partners at Saint Augustine’s University [formerly known as Saint Augustine’s College] in Raleigh, NC are now available for viewing and researching purposes. The materials we digitized are a part of the Voices of the Episcopal Church Women project that features women who attended St. Augustine’s University and had a positive impact on their communities. These women participated in the leadership positions at the local Episcopal churches, played roles in activism in Raleigh, had careers in politics, nursing and education to name a few and produced great works of art. There are candid photographs and portraits of the women of Saint Augustine’s University attending classes and church, leading educational instruction, and generally living their lives. Newspaper clippings can be found that detail the work and contributions to their respective communities. There are also audio files where you can hear interviews with some of the women featured in the Voices of the Episcopal Women project. These materials contribute to St. Augustine’s University’s rich history by providing insight into the connections among education, church and community. You can find these materials on the NCDHC website. To see what is happening at St. Augustine’s University these days, visit their website.
This blog is maintained by the staff of the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center and features the latest news and highlights from the collections at DigitalNC, an online library of primary sources from organizations across North Carolina.