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New @NCpedia: Learn about local educational and civil rights leaders in Pitt County and read a new biography of Henry Eppes, member of the 1868 “Black Caucus”

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New @NCpedia: Learn about local educational and civil rights leaders in Pitt County and read a new biography of Henry Eppes, member of the 1868 “Black Caucus”

NCpedia is pleased to share some of its newest content. These are new biographical entries about education and civil rights leaders in Pitt County and a biographical entry on Henry Eppes.

W.H. Davenport standing in front of Greenville, N.C.'s C. M. Eppes High School, January 19, 1961. Item 741.26.a44, from the Daily Reflector Image Collection, East Carolina University Digital Collections.

W.H. Davenport standing in front of Greenville, N.C.’s C. M. Eppes High School, January 19, 1961. Item 741.26.a44, from the Daily Reflector Image Collection, East Carolina University Digital Collections.

Henry Eppes was a North Carolina state legislator who was a member of the 1868 “Black Caucus” as a delegate to the state constitutional convention. He was also a delegate to the Freedmen’s Convention of 1866.

These entries share stories specific to Greenville and Pitt County.  At the same time, the local history they provide illustrates many of the themes and currents of the history of North Carolina and the nation.

These entries appear in NCpedia thanks to one of our newest contributors, Steven Hill. Steven is a high school history teacher in Greenville, North Carolina public schools. He has  a passion for researching and sharing history, especially the educational and civil rights history of his home county. Thank you, Steven, for sharing your work and these important histories with NCpedia viewers!

New @Ncpedia: D.D. Garrett and his wife Clotea on December 5, 1988. Taking the oath of office as the first Black County Commissioner. From the Michael Garrett Family private collection. Used in NCpedia by permission.

New @Ncpedia: D.D. Garrett and his wife Clotea on December 5, 1988. Taking the oath of office as the first Black County Commissioner. From the Michael Garrett Family private collection. Used in NCpedia by permission.

Please visit these entries to learn more:

Willis Haynie Davenport — African American educational leader: http://www.ncpedia.org/davenport-willis-haynie

Henry Eppes — North Carolina state legislator and member of the 1868 “Black Caucus”:  http://www.ncpedia.org/eppes-henry

Charles Montgomery Eppes — noted African American educational leader and son of Henry Eppes: http://www.ncpedia.org/eppes-charles-montgomery

Denison Dover Garrett — African American civil rights pioneer, NCCAP leader, civic leader, and Greenville businessman: http://www.ncpedia.org/garrett-denison-dover

Junius Harris Rose — Superintendent of Greenville Schools 1920-1967: http://www.ncpedia.org/rose-junius-harris

Do you have a topic in North Carolina history whose story might fit in NCpedia?

Please let us know!  To learn how to contribute, visit NCpedia’s Contribute page: http://www.ncpedia.org/contribute. Or contact me!

— Kelly Agan, North Carolina Government & Heritage Library

 

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Meet Your North Carolina State Symbols!

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Did you know that North Carolina has 56 state symbols and official adoptions?  Yes! And — finally — the state symbol is getting its day!  On Saturday June 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., North Carolina’s state symbols will be featured at a special event at the Capitol: “Meet Your State Symbols.”  The event will take place on the grounds of the Capitol building in Raleigh.  The GHL will be on hand with a ‘pop-up’ state symbol library featuring information and fun activities to help folks learn about the state’s heritage and history.  You can even vote for your favorite and be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter to find out the winner!

Why does North Carolina have state symbols?

Every year, thousands of school kids across the state work on projects to learn about the state’s symbols.  They have lots of questions, like: what are state symbols, anyway? why is milk the State Beverage and not Pepsi or Cheerwine?  why is the sweet potato the state vegetable?  Kids and adults alike ask questions like “the state has a Livermush Festival?!”

“Greetings from North Carolina,” postcard ca. 1930s, showing the goldenrod as the state flower. From North Carolina Postcards, North Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill.

How did all of these adoptions come into being?  “Symbols” (like the flag and Great Seal) and other “official adoptions” are created by the North Carolina General Assembly. The General Assembly develops legislation (a bill) with language declaring a particular thing as the “official state (fill in the blank)”.  The bill is ratified by the General Assembly and is then signed into law by the Governor. The adoption of each state symbol is associated with a particular piece of legislation enumerated in the North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 145: State Symbols and Other Official Adoptions.

We often think of all of these adoptions as “state symbols” — like the flag, colors, Great Seal, bird, etc. — but the range of adoptions is really much more broad. Since the General Assembly adopted its first “symbol” in 1885 with legislation recognizing the official State Flag, it has adopted more representations of the state’s heritage and culture, from the State Dog to the State Marsupial to the State Reptile and the State Christmas Tree.  Some symbols are emblems or iconic representations of the state’s history and culture, such as the flag or the Great Seal.  Others represent the state’s unique natural heritage, such as the Cardinal and the Venus Fly Trap. Others, like the sweet potato, represent something that has been vital to sustaining the people or the economy. In recent years, the General Assembly has also adopted a number of festivals or events that are examples of the historical folk life and cultural heritage of the state’s communities and counties.

The state’s newest adoption came during the 2016 session when the General Assembly voted to adopt the Town of Warsaw (Duplin County) Veterans Day Parade as the State Veterans Day Parade (S.B. 160). The bill was signed into law by the Governor of North Carolina on June 24, 2016.  The adoption recognized the long history of the town’s parade, which dates back to their 1921 commemoration of Armistice Day.  The parade is believed to be the oldest, annual commemoration in the nation of what is now Veterans Day.

Does the General Assembly ever consider a symbol that it doesn’t adopt?

Sometimes bills are introduced for new adoptions, but they never make it through the legislative process. During the 2015-2016 legislative sessions two bills met this fate. On January 26, 2015, a bill was introduced for the adoption of the Old Fort Gold Festival, in McDowell County, as the official Gold Festival of North Carolina.  The festival has been celebrated during the first weekend in June since 2003.  And on March 4, 2015, a bill was introduced to name the Bobcat as the official State Cat. Fourth-graders at Benvenue Elementary School in Nash County wrote to their state legislator to recommend that the General Assembly adopt an official state cat to complement the state dog, the Plott Hound. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Bobbie Richardson, a Nash County Democrat. The General Assembly concluded the legislative session in 2015 without taking up either legislation for ratification.

Editorial, the Wilmington Evening Dispatch, January 29, 1912.

Editorial, the Wilmington Evening Dispatch, January 29, 1912.

Have people ever believed something to be a state symbol but it wasn’t “official”?

There are also examples of things being considered state symbols by virtue of popular understanding, but not by official legislative recognition. Take the state flower.

For a long time, the daisy was popularly believed to be the state’s flower. In the July 1917 issue of National Geographic, the daisy was listed as the state flower by “common consent.”  But this was unofficial.  In fact, adoption of state symbols, emblems, and mottos is often taken historically as a matter of pride and patriotism.  On January 29, 1912, a resident of Wilmington submitted an editorial to the Evening Dispatch lamenting the state’s failure to adopt a flower, while the majority of states had them (see image).

In 1921 the General Assembly did consider adoption of the ox eye daisy but failed to pass a resolution or bill.  By the 1930s, many folk also considered the goldenrod to be the state flower. It appeared on North Carolina themed postcards of the decade, titled as the state flower (see image).  And an article in the Burlington Daily Times News, April 1, 1933, mentions an “argument” between two journalists (Louis Graves of the Chapel Hill Weekly and Julian Miller of the Charlotte Observer) regarding the state flower. Apparently, Graves believed it to be the ox eye daisy, while Miller insisted on the goldenrod. In fact, neither was correct! At last in 1941 the General Assembly put the matter to rest, with the dogwood being firmly ensconced in the states official imagery, beating out the daisy, goldenrod, azalea, laurel, and others.

Are you ready to become a North Carolina State Symbol expert or just want to learn more about this unique aspect of the state’s history?

Check out these resources:

NCpedia:

State Symbols & Official Adoptions: ncpedia.org/symbols
North Carolina State Symbols Interactive Timeline: ncpedia.org/north-carolina-history-timeline-state-symbols
North Carolina State Symbols & Official Adoptions links to legislation: ncpedia.org/north-carolina-state-symbols-general-statutes

NC General Assembly, Laws of the State of NC Chapter 145 (State Symbols & Official Adoptions): http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0145

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

What’s New about North Carolina in NCpedia?!

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New in NCpedia!

NCpedia has a number of fascinating new stories about North Carolina history and people. Check them out and share!

New in NCpedia: Aerial photograph of the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), the former site of the NASA tracking station near Rosman, North Carolina. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Aerial photograph of the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI), the former site of the NASA tracking station near Rosman, North Carolina. Image courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

North Carolina in the era of space exploration

Did you know that North Carolina was home to a NASA satellite tracking facility during the peak years of the space program?  Yes, it’s true!  Check out this new entry on the site, located near Rosman, North Carolina: ncpedia.org/NASA-rosman-satellite-tracking-facility.  And on May 8 of this year, the site was recognized with the dedication of the state’s newest Highway Historical Marker (located just off NC Highway 64 near Rosman).

History of Nursing in North Carolina

NCpedia has been building a collection on the history of professional nursing in the state, along with some of the pioneering nurses that made ground-breaking history in the development of nursing education and in bringing modern healthcare to communities. Visit the collection here: ncpedia.org/category/subjects/nurses

New in NCpedia: Kellis Parker, senior year portrait, 1964. From the UNC-Chapel Hill student yearbook the <i>Yackety Yack</i>. Used by permission of University of North Carolina Libaries.

Kellis Parker, senior year portrait, 1964. From the UNC-Chapel Hill student yearbook the Yackety Yack. Used by permission of University of North Carolina Libraries.

Biography of Kellis Earl Parker, lawyer, activist, scholar, and musician

Learn about the life and accomplishments of Lenoir County native, Kellis Earl Parker.  With civil rights activism a central part of his life’s work, Parker was one of the first black students to enroll at the University of North Carolina and went on to become the first black law professor at Columbia University.  He was also an accomplished musician and brother to legendary saxophone player, Maceo Parker. ncpedia.org/parker-kellis-earl

Kelly Agan, North Carolina Government & 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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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.