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African American History

Celebrating African American History Month: New in NCpedia

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Celebrating African American History Month: New in NCpedia

NCpedia has new entries to celebrate North Carolina’s African American heritage. These entries were shared with NCpedia by a number of our valued content partners and collaborators: the North Carolina Arts Council, North Carolina State University Libraries, and the State Archives of North Carolina. Visit NCpedia to learn more — and if you have a comment, question or personal story to share about these biographies and historical moments, please let us know by contributing a comment on the article page!  We love to hear from viewers!

African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina: Kinston Area: This article introduces viewers to Kinston’s musical heritage and serves as a launch point for a collection of related biographies and stories:


Lieutenant J. Tim Brymn, director of the U.S. 350th Field Artillery Band. Image provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.

John Henry Fortescue: Becoming Guitar Shorty — an entry about a one-of-a-kind, self-taught blues musician from Elm City.

Maceo and Melvin Parker: Early Influences — legendary brothers from Kinston, the Parkers both performed with James Brown and went on to their own solo careers. Maceo Parker received the North Carolina Heritage Award in 2016.

James Brown Band: “Almost Like a Kinston Band”— shares the legendary musician’s influence on and discovery of Kinston musicians.

Geneva Perry: From the International Sweethearts of Rhythm to Adkin High — Geneva Perry, a member of the 1940s all-women, multi-racial big band the International Sweethearts, taught music at Kinston’s Adkin High School.

Adkin High School Walkout 1951, Kinston, NC — shares the historical moment in 1951 when students of Kinston’s racially segregated high school staged a walkout to protest after their plea to the school board for educational resources was denied.

James Timothy Brymn — a Kinston musical legacy and early Jazz composer, Brymn studied at Shaw University and then went on National Conservatory of Music of America. His legendary compositions of the early decades of the 20th century were among the first to use the word “jazz.”

Dazelle Foster Lowe — shares the story of a leader in the establishment of home demostration for the state’s black communities beginning in World War I.

John William Mitchell — Mitchell, a pioneer in the establishment of extension service support for African Americans in North Carolina in the early decades of the 20th century became the first head of the newly created extension service office at N.C. A&T in 1922.

James William Alston — shares the life of a North Carolinian who served in the U.S. Army, worked at the State Museum (today’s Museum of Natural Sciences) and was among the first class of African Americans to be trained as military officers at the all-African American officers training school at Fort Dodge, IA on the eve of World War I.

— Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

New in NCpedia: North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Timeline

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North Carolina Historically Black Colleges & Universities HBCUs. Click here for the NCpedia North Carolina HBCUs Timeline

Click here for the NCpedia North Carolina HBCUs Timeline

New in NCpedia: North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Timeline

NCpedia has a new interactive timeline! 

Tracing the history of North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), it brings together brief histories of North Carolina’s twelve HBCUs, developed between 1865 and 1910, and images from a range of collections and historic publications.

The timeline was developed by Christine Alston, a student in the Master of Library and Information Studies program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, during her recent graduate student field experience at the N.C. Government & Heritage Library. The timeline was created using TimeMapper. An open-source application created by Open Knowledge Labs, TimeMapper is freely available and is built on relatively simple web technologies. The timeline is generated from information entered into a simple Google spreadsheet template (provided by TimeMapper) and run on the web. Virtually anyone from professionals, to teachers, students and family historians can create visually interesting and interactive timelines. No programming experience needed!

Click here for the NCpedia North Carolina HBCUs Collection

Click here for the NCpedia North Carolina HBCUs Collection

Check out the timeline and more NCpedia resources on African American history and education in North Carolina:


Kelly Agan, N.C. Government & Heritage Library



New LibGuide : State Publications about African Americans in North Carolina

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The Clearinghouse team is revamping a number of research guides located on the North Carolina State Government Publications digital collection webpage. These new guides will be in a slightly different format and will include more up-to-date resources. Check out the recently published LibGuide featuring State Publications
about African Americans in North Carolina. Stay tuned for future updates!

LibGuides for Agricultural Statistics in North Carolina, Eugenics in North Carolina, and Military History in North Carolina are all in the works, with more planned.

You can access the State Publications about African Americans in North Carolina here.

Oral history series now included in NCpedia

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"Listening to History" in NCpedia. Click here to visit the collection.

“Listening to History” in NCpedia. Click here to visit the collection.

What impression did the Glen Coal Mine Disaster leave on a seven year old who witnessed it?  What role did a student leader at Shaw University play in the Civil Rights movement? What was life like on the home front in World War II for women taking on traditional male jobs? What is the role of place in a person’s life and memory?

These and many other themes are brought to life in captivating, personal stories found in David Cecelski’s “Listening to History” series, now included in NCpedia.

For ten years, historian David Cecelski’s monthly “Listening to History” series appeared in a Sunday edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer. The oral history series included personal histories of important events as well as of daily life in North Carolina in different places and times. Photographs of the interviewees, many taken by the News & Observer’s Chris Seward, add an even deeper connection to the pieces. The series began as part of the “Listening for a Change” project supported through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Southern Oral History Program.

Through a collaboration between David Cecelski, the News & Observer, and the N.C. Government & Heritage Library, all of “Listening to History” pieces may now be found in NCpedia at

Take a look, and let us know what gems you find!

This blog is a service of the State Library of North Carolina, part of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Blog comments and posts may be subject to Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties.