GHL Blog Rotating Header Image

Theme of the Month

National Poetry Month: North Carolina’s Poets and a Celebrity Look-A-Like

Share Button

National Poetry Month:  North Carolina’s Poets and a Celebrity Look-A-Like

North Carolina Celebrity "Look-A-Like"

North Carolina Celebrity “Look-A-Like” Image credit (right image): Joella Marano, Wikimedia Commons

It’s National Poetry Month and what better way to celebrate than with a little “poetic license”!

Most of us can likely guess who’s on the right. But the soulful portrait on the left is probably a little more obscure.  In NCpedia’s biographical entry, from UNC Press’s Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, North Carolina literary historian Richard Walser described the gent as “rather poetically careless of his appearance” and that his “contemporaries described him as a gentle man of an even disposition, joyous, considerate, companionable.”

The subject was John Charles McNeill, North Carolina poet, journalist, and lawyer, born in 1874 in then Richmond, now Scotland, County.  He attended Wake Forest College, graduating in 1898, and soon after hung up his shingle as a lawyer in Lumberton.  Although he would practice law in both Lumberton and Laurinburg, by the turn of the century he had begun to write poetry in earnest, publishing initially in the Lumberton Argus (where he had purchased an interest).  Not long after, he stopped practicing law to write full-time, signing on with the Charlotte Observer in 1904.  He was also elected to the North Carolina General Assembly in 1903, where, with a mind for temperance, he introduced bills to prohibit sale of alcohol and fireworks.


Quilting in the Old North State: A New North Carolina History in NCpedia

Share Button

Quilting in the Old North State: A New North Carolina History in NCpedia

By Kelly Agan, North Carolina Government & Heritage Library

This week, as we near the end of Women’s History Month and National Quilt Month, NCpedia published a seven-part history of quilting in North Carolina, with many, many thanks to Diana Bell-Kite, a curator at the North Carolina Museum of History, who took time to research, write, and share this history with us.  This contribution filled an important space in NCpedia’s coverage of the state’s history and it coincided, serendipitously, with the tapestry theme of Women’s History Month: Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives. Whether you’re interested in quilting or you want to learn more about material culture and social history from the 18th to the 21st century, please visit this content.  And we’ve added numerous images of quilts from the Museum’s collections.

Funeral Ribbon Quilt, Lee Co., NC, 1958

Funeral Ribbon Quilt, Lee Co., NC, 1958, from the NC Museum of History

First a little about National Quilt Day and Month. National Quilt Day appears to have grown out of an event called “Quilters’ Day Out”, originated by the Kentucky Heritage Quilt Society and celebrated on the 3rd Saturday of March in 1989.  The National Quilting Association held its annual quilt show and conference in Lincoln, Nebraska a few years later in 1991 and decided to build on the enthusiasm and interest created by the Kentucky event, establishing National Quilt Day that year.  Somewhere along the line, National Quilt Month formed as a month-long celebration.  (If you know more about the origin of these events, please let us know!) (more…)

Women’s History Month: Weaving the Stories of North Carolina Women

Share Button

Women’s History Month: Weaving the Stories of North Carolina Women

Cover: "Women's History Month in North Carolina: A Salute to Women in History, March 1991-1992."  Published by the NC Council  For Women, Department of Administration, 1992. Available in NC Digital Collections.

Cover: “Women’s History Month in North Carolina: A Salute to Women in History, March 1991-1992.” Published by the NC Council For Women, Department of Administration, 1992. Available in NC Digital Collections.

March is Women’s History Month!  And the designation of March for the commemoration is no co-incidence.  On March 8, 1908 amidst a police presence, female garment workers took to the streets of New York City to commemorate the march of their needle-worker forebears on March 8, 1857.  Both marches demanded better working conditions, shorter days, and equal rights.  The 1908 march also demanded the vote.

The following year, 1909, with the Socialist Party advocating the cause of women, the first National Women’s Day in the U.S. was designated by the Socialist Party of America to remember the march of the prior year.  By 1911, as an outgrowth of the second International Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen the year before, International Women’s Day was celebrated on the last Sunday in February for the first time in a number of European countries, including Denmark, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.  Then in 1913, March 8 became the date of the annual celebration of International Women’s Day.  And some sixty years later, the United Nations would designate 1975 as the International Women’s Year.

Although these events would be celebrated in the U.S. with increasing advocacy for equality and the illumination of women’s history, it was not until 1981 that Congress would authorize the president to proclaim the week of March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.”  The year before, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation marking the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.  From then until 1987, Congress passed annual resolutions marking the week each year until a petition in 1987 by the National Women’s History Project succeeded in securing Congressional approval for March as National Women’s History Month.  All presidents since have issued proclamations for Women’s History Month in March.

North Carolina has its own long history in the wide-ranging women’s movement.  Penelope Barker and the ladies of Edenton at the Edenton Tea Party of 1774 are a colonial example of efforts of women at independent political organization.  North Carolina women organized vigorously in the suffrage movement, including the efforts of the North Carolina Equal Suffrage Association from 1894 until the passage of the 19th Amendement, the North Carolina Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the N.C. League of Women Voters founded in 1920.  And Ella May Wiggins is remembered for her voice, strength, and tragic death in organizing mill workers in Gastonia in the 1920s.  These are just a few of the many extraordinary efforts by North Carolina women in advocating for themselves and in determining the political and social landscape of the South into the 20th century.

At the governmental level, in 1963 Governor Terry Sanford issued an Executive Order creating the North Carolina Commission on the Status of Women.  By 1972 funds would be designated for creation of the organization at the agency level, with a name change to the North Carolina Council for Women.  Today the agency exists under the state’s Department of Administration.

And each year the National Women’s History Project selects both an annual theme and honorees.  North Carolina civil rights and political activist Ella Baker was a past honoree.  This year’s theme is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.”   And North Carolina’s women, both historical and contemporary, have woven their own stories into history, with contributions to education, science and medicine, civil rights and women’s rights, arts and culture, and historic preservation being only a few of the places their strength has reached. To learn more about North Carolina’s women and their histories, visit these collections and resources, with links to North Carolina documentary collections:

–By Kelly Agan, NCpedia Digital Media Librarian, Government & Heritage Library 

ExploreNC: October is Family History Month!

Share Button

October is all about family history! Whether you’re just starting out with your North Carolina genealogy research, or you’re a seasoned pro, check out the guide to family history on ExploreNC, freshly updated by our Genealogy Reference Librarian Erin Bradford.

Family History page

Click image to visit ExploreNC Family History page

Click image to visit ExploreNC Family History page

You’ll find information on:

  • How to start your search
  • Oral Histories
  • Vital Records
  • NC Bibles & Obituaries
  • Cemetery Records
  • Census Records
  • NC County & State Records
  • NC Map Collections
  • Periodicals & Newspapers
  • Military Records
  • Immigration & Migration
  • DNA & Genetics
  • Special Collections
  • Genealogical resources on North Carolina’s Scottish, Scots-Irish, German, and Swiss settlers
  • Native American Genealogy
  • African American Genealogy
  • Jewish Genealogy
  • Family History for Kids
  • . . . and more!

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.