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November is Native American Heritage Month!

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North Carolina Museum of History American Indian Heritage Celebration website. Click here for more information, schedule of events, and videos from previous years.

North Carolina Museum of History American Indian Heritage Celebration website. Click here for more information, schedule of events, and videos from previous years.

November is Native American Heritage Month.  And if you happen to be near Raleigh this weekend, visit the North Carolina Museum of History’s 21st Annual American Indian Heritage Celebration. The festival includes musicians, dancers, artists, storytellers, and authors from North Carolina’s tribal communities.  Visit and learn about the state’s American Indian culture! To see a schedule of the day’s events (and a preview from photos and video of past years’ celebrations), visit this page: http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/events/AIHC-2016/photos-and-videos.

Efforts to honor American Indians with a national commemoration began more than a century ago. Arthur Caswell Parker, an historian, anthropologist and member of the Seneca Nation, was the first American Indian to hold the post of Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, and he was a vocal advocate of citizenship rights for Native Americans and the adoption of national commemorative day.  Parker was a founder of the Society of American Indians and the National Congress of American Indians.  At Parker’s urging, the Boy Scouts of America observed a day for American Indians for a few years during the early decades of the 20th century.

And then in 1915, the National Congress of American Indians approved a plan to authorize its president, the Rev. Sherman Coolidge, a member of the Arapahoe Nation, to ask the U.S. Congress to honor an American Indian Day. President Calvin Coolidge issued a proclamation on September 28, 1915 declaring the second Saturday of May as American Indian Day. The following year, New York proclaimed the second Saturday in May as American Indian Day.  Other states joined the effort at various times throughout the 20th century, designating a special day, although not always in May, to celebrate the heritage and contributions to the nation of American Indians.

In 1976, the U.S. Congress authorized President Gerald Ford to proclaim a week in October as Native American Awareness Week.  Since that time, the President and Congress have issued annual proclamations for the observance.  In 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint Congressional resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month, and similar proclamations have been issued each year since 1994.  This year, on October 31, President Obama declared November as National Native American Heritage Month.

Today, the state of North Carolina is home to more than 100,000 persons who are American Indians.  You can learn about North Carolina’s tribal communities by visiting the North Carolina Commission of Indians Affairs at: http://ncadmin.nc.gov/citizens/american-indians/nc-tribal-communities.

— Kay Tillotson, Genealogical Research Librarian, Government & Heritage Library

For more information on the history of honoring American Indians, American Indian tribes, and North Carolina’s American Indian tribes and heritage, visit these resources:

Library closing: The Government and Heritage Library including Genealogical Services will be closed Friday, November 11, 2016 through Saturday, November 12, 2016 for Veterans Day.

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All Veterans Memorial, Asheboro, NC, from Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina.

All Veterans Memorial, Asheboro, NC, from Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina.

Library closing: The Government and Heritage Library, including Genealogical Services, will be closed Friday, November 11, 2016 and Saturday, November 12, 2016 for Veterans Day.

In observance of the Veterans Day state holiday, the Government & Heritage Library will be closed on Friday, November 11, 2016 and Saturday, November 12, 2016.  We will reopen for our normal business hours on Monday, November 14 at 9 a.m.

If you are considering attending a commemorative event, a website called VetFriends has a listing of some events and parades in communities around the state: https://www.vetfriends.com/parades/directory.cfm?state=NC.

And if you would like to learn more about the history of commemorations and memorials in communities around the state, please visit Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina: http://docsouth.unc.edu/commland/.  You can also learn more about the state’s military history and its veterans in the NCpedia: http://ncpedia.org/gsearch?query=veterans

Thank you to our veterans near and far for your service and sacrifice and best wishes for this holiday weekend,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library

Boo! North Carolina Ghost Stories and Spooky Legends Online and In Print

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Boo! North Carolina Ghost Stories and Spooky Legends Online and In Print

Eternal Hoofprints or the Devil's Horse's Hoofprints. Image from the 1927 "North Carolina Today." From the North Carolina Dept. of Conservation and Development.

Eternal Hoofprints or the Devil’s Horse’s Hoofprints. Image from the 1937 “North Carolina Today.” From the North Carolina Dept. of Conservation and Development.

It’s that time of year again — Halloween.  And North Carolina has more than a few legends to raise your hair and give you a cold chill.  Some of North Carolina’s reportedly haunted places are the subject of legendary sightings of supernatural phenomenon; others are sites where real-life tragedies have occurred and have become woven into the fabric of local legend.

Visit NCpedia to read about a handful of the most well-known of the state’s spooky stories and haunted places. The Ghost Train of Bostian’s Bridge, the Eternal Hoofprints and the Devil’s Tramping Ground, in particular, might give you decent shiver!

The Ghost Train of Bostian’s Bridge — train wreck in 1891 in Statesville, a legendary re-sighting in 1941, with a new event in 2010.

The Maco Light —  from the fatal train wreck in Brunswick County in 1867 and siting of the lights by a U.S. president.

The Devil’s Horse’s Hoof Prints — ghostly holes in the ground near Bath since 1813.

The Devil’s Tramping Ground — in western Chatham County, an eerie circle in the woods where nothing will grow.

The Brown Mountain Lights — mysterious, unexplained light phenomena on the Burke-Caldwell County line.

And if you’d like to dig a bit deeper, here are a few print volumes with tales of haunted North Carolina:

Tanenbaum, Linda Duck, and Barry McGee. 2002. Ghost tales from the North Carolina Piedmont. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Bandit Books.

Williams, Stephanie Burt. 2003. Ghost stories of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County: remnants of the past in a new South. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Bandit Books.

Russell, Randy, and Janet Barnett. 1988. Mountain ghost stories and curious tales of western North Carolina. Winston-Salem, N.C.: J.F. Blair.

Morgan, Fred T. 1992. Haunted Uwharries: ghost stories, witch tales and other strange happenings from North America’s oldest mountains. Asheboro, N.C.: Down Home Press.

Starbuck, Richard W., and Lu Newman. 2002. Ghosts of Salem and other tales. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Moravian Archives.  

Happy reading and Happy Halloween!

— Kelly Agan, N.C. Government & Heritage Library

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This week in Raleigh, IBMA’s Wide World of Bluegrass Festival: Highlighting North Carolina’s Bluegrass Roots

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This week in Raleigh, IBMA’s Wide World of Bluegrass Fest: Highlighting North Carolina’s Bluegrass Roots

This week Raleigh once again hosts the International Bluegrass Music Association’s “Wide Open World of Bluegrass” festival from September 27 to October 1.  Complementing the ticketed attractions, the festival also has a free street fest in downtown Raleigh along Fayetteville Street on Friday and Saturday — complete with live music, street food, and craft vendors.  If you’re in Raleigh, check it out!

EarlScruggs, San Francisco 2005, by Volker Neumann on Flickr. Used under license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

EarlScruggs, San Francisco 2005, by Volker Neumann on Flickr. Used under license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

It’s a good opportunity to share a snapshot of this deeply rooted, ever-evolving and uniquely American art form along with some resources for more info on North Carolina’s connection.

The origins of the name “Bluegrass” are often associated with the legendary mandolin player Bill Monroe, native Kentuckian who named his band the “Blue Grass Boys” for his home state in the late 1930s.  The term “bluegrass”, however, appears not to have been applied to the developing form until well into the 1940s or 1950s. The roots of the genre itself are old and wide, originating from a deep and complex mix:  the folk music and dance forms of Appalachia brought to North America by European immigrants beginning in the 17th century (especially from the British Isles); traditional music brought from Africa and handed down in the African American traditions of gospel and blues; and particularly in the innovative, front and center use of the banjo which came to colonial America from Africa.

North Carolina’s own Earl Scruggs is credited with developing Bluegrass’s emphasis on the banjo played in a unique style.  Born in Shelby in Cleveland County, Scruggs utilized a three-finger roll or crawl style that helps give Bluegrass its bright sound and drives its forward momentum and energy.  Scruggs played with Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys for a time, then formed his own band the Foggy Mountain Boys, and later teamed up as a duo with Foggy Mountain’s guitarist Lester Flatt.  And for a time Flatt and Scruggs called Raleigh home.  So, little wonder that Raleigh now finds itself home to this annual festival.

Want to learn more?  Visit these resources:

Listen to some Flatt and Scruggs from the archives:  visit Archive.org for a sampling of recordings available

NCpedia Resources on North Carolina music traditions and festivals:

 

— Kelly Agan, North Carolina Government & Heritage Library

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.