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Government and Heritage Library

Commemorating the U.S. Entry into World War I

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To follow North Carolina’s history in World War I on social media, use the hashtag #NCWW1 (note: use the number “1” not an uppercase letter “I”)!

Today marks the centennial of the United States’ entry into World War I, at the time called the “European war”.  On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson requested a declaration of war from the U.S. Congress. Four days later on April 6, Congress voted to declare war on Germany.  It was the 4th time the Congress had enacted a declaration of war. Several months later on December  7, the U.S. declared war on Austria-Hungary.

Iredell County World War I Memorial, Statesville, NC. From North Carolina Postcards, North Carolina Collection, UNC Chapel Hill.

Iredell County World War I Memorial, Statesville, NC. From North Carolina Postcards, North Carolina Collection, UNC Chapel Hill. More information on the memorial is available from Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina in NCpedia.

Wilson’s used the phrases “a war to end all wars” and “make the world safe for democracy” to confirm both a sense of the moral urgency to enter the conflict and some sense of optimism that war could even accomplish these goals.  World War I surely didn’t end the prospect of war for future generations, but it was truly a war that changed everything — from the devastating loss of a generation of young men who went to war, to loss of children and families, homes, towns and cities and culture to the very way war came to be fought.  It changed the course of science and technology.

For its part, North Carolina sent more than 80,000 soldiers overseas to the war effort and made many contributions and sacrifices from the home front. The U.S. Senate approved the declaration with a vote of 82-6, with both of North Carolina’s senators in support.  In the House of Representatives, sentiment was not nearly as unilateral, with a final vote of 373-50.  Congressman Claude Kitchin, a supporter and ally of Wilson, made a bold declaration against entry into the war.  He is remembered for delivering a passionate speech against when called on for his vote. He was applauded by both supporters of the war and those who stood with him and was later both renounced and revered for his stand. You can read more about him here in NCpedia. And of the war, the state’s governor, Thomas W. Bickett, who led the state through the troubled time said: “This is no ordinary war. It is a war of ideals.”

From now through the centennial of the conclusion of the war in 2018, we will be contributing to the commemorative effort by sharing North Carolina’s history in World War I — from its men and women who served on the battlefield to efforts on the home front.  We will try to bring you closer to stories, events, people and places by sharing collections and resources that bring the history a little closer to home.  Along the way, we’ll also share resources and collections that might help family history researchers locate records from family members who served.

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Two African American Newspapers Newly Available Online – Baltimore Afro-American & Norfolk Journal and Guide

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The Government and Heritage Library has two African American newspapers newly available for online research: The Baltimore Afro-American and The Norfolk Journal and Guide! Both newspapers are accessible through the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database.

Currently, these databases are available on site AND to North Carolina state agency employees anywhere with their State Library card. Users may perform keyword and advanced searches as well as browse by publication year, month, and issue number.

The Baltimore Afro-American – Coverage: 1893 – 1988

Provides full text and citation/abstract coverage from April 29, 1893 to February 6, 1988, with some exceptions. This weekly newspaper is published in Baltimore, Maryland, and is still in print with current issues available at www.afro.com.

From the newspaper’s Facebook page (accessed 2017-02-24):

The Afro-American Newspaper was founded in 1892 by John Henry Murphy Sr., a former slave, when he combined his church newspaper “The Sunday School Helper” with two other Baltimore newspapers. Murphy led his newspaper to national fame by the time of his death in 1922, when it was led by his son Carl Murphy, who headed the paper for 45 years and established 13 national editions. Many prominent Black journalists and writers have worked for the Afro-American, including William Worthy, J. Saunders Redding, and Langston Hughes. It remains in the Murphy family, today led by publisher John Oliver.

Other reading about the history of the Baltimore Afro-American can be found here: PBS – Newspaper Biographies: The Afro-American

The Norfolk Journal and Guide – Coverage: 1916 – 2003

Provides full text and citation/abstract coverage from September 30, 1916 – December 30, 2003, with some exceptions. This paper was published in Norfolk, Virginia, and was founded on April 14, 1900. It is still printed today with new issues available at thenewjournalandguide.com.

From the newspaper’s Facebook page (accessed 2017-02-24):

The New Journal and Guide is Virginia’s oldest Black weekly newspaper and part of what makes Norfolk great. Now celebrating more than 100 years of continuous publication, we are a proud member of the African American Press comprising some 300 newspapers across the nation.

Other reading about the history of the Norfolk Journal and Guide can be found here: PBS – Newspaper Biographies: Norfolk Journal and Guide

Questions about these resources or researching at the Government and Heritage Library? Please feel free to email us at slnc.reference[at]ncdcr[dot]gov or call 919-807-7450!

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:

Brymn_James_Timothy

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

Digital Collections: State Publications

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The State Library of North Carolina has the responsibility of collecting state publications from all state agencies in North Carolina. Some of those publications have found their way online in the State Publications digital collection. Some of the documents were born digital, meaning they were always online, but many in this collection were scanned by our Government & Heritage Library staff. Let’s take a look at some of the types of records you may find in this collection.

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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.