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Cardiac Pack's team of destiny

It's hard to believe it's been 30 years since Jim Valvano's "Cardiac Pack" captured the national basketball championship. N&O writer Gerald Martin painted the scene for the folks at home.

The mascot cried, his tussled wolf's head tossed back, his arms pleading for someone to please tell him it really was so. Dr. Co McQueen climbed atop the basket and perched on the top, higher than a Phi Slama Jama had ever soared. and the little fellow wearing a Coor's beer cap, the fellow with both arms raised, fists clinched, pleaded, "Let me through. That's my boy, " as he worked his way through a sea of insanity that ran red and was called Wolfpack.

The little fellow's name was Charles, and his son is Lorenzo, and they had something to talk about, to celebrate, because they were part of just about the greatest sports story ever told Monday night in a place called The Pit.

It was incredible, completely in character for a team whose heart and soul had for the past month defied x-and-o strategy with magic and miracles that cannot be scrawled in chalk on five-and-dime slateboards.

When Dereck Whittenburg launched a desperation shot with the score tied and the national collegiate basketball championship on the line, all the x's and all the o's were useless, because the best-laid plan during a spent timeout had gone astray.

He couldn't get a handle on the clock, all he knew was that the world around him was going berserk, that the time had come to do it and he didn't want the game to end with the ball in his hand.

So he launched, not from two- or three-point range, but from four. He could joke later that it was a pass, diagrammed, practiced, a brilliant play to end the string of miracles.

The best he could have hoped for at that point was overtime, Houston, No.1 and king of college basketball, 52, and N.C. State, the champions of cardiac arrest and late-night mission impossible reruns, 52.

But no. Charles was there and in the air, towering alone, impossibly alone, above the rim, for the most resounding, Pack-elating, Cougar-crushing jam of the season, the decade, the century.

How very, very ironic, that N.C. State, the team of patience and tempo, without a jamming reputation, should douse the fire of the net-scorching Houston Cougars in such last-second, even-seeing-ain't-believing fashion. The death knell for the Cougars was sounded as fittingly as possible, with a dose of Phi Jama Slama's own medicine.

And how fitting, too, that in the final run from the brink of defeat, when the Wolfpack's tongues were parched, its strength sapped, that it rallied from six down on senior superlatives who stood no taller than Akeem Olajuwon's belly button.

The Cougars had their jammers, the Pack had its Whittenburg and its Magna Cum Lowe.

The brothers from D.C., who grew up in short shoes and long shots, did what they do best, beat giants - Monday night the most gigantic of them all.

Pass, as Whittenburg joked, or shot, as he finally admitted. It doesn't matter. It was in their playbook of miracles, not in the one with x's and o's.

And when it ended in unparalleled fashion, with a comeback late in the game that began with a comeback late in the season, it only mattered that the championship was in hand.

As coach Jim Valvano told his kids at halftime: "The dream ... the dream. I told them they were 20 minutes away, for me, it had been 16 years. You'll never forget it as long as you live, so play, play to win."

And they did. They played to win, against odds too big to count, and they will never forget it, from that oh-so-narrow victory over Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament, to that moment of triumph in Albuquerque, when Whittenburg, realizing, "Yes! It went at the gun, " raced across the court to the Wolfpack fans' corner of the world, and plunged head first into that sea of red, to be caressed and blessed.

Never forget. ...

The wonder-working Pack and the wizard of Western Boulevard had won it all.

And Phi Slama Jama got one, just one, jam.

It was incredible.The News & Observer 4/5/1983

Record snowstorm paralyzed city

It was a year that set a record for the earliest snowfall and the latest snowfall, when the 1915 Easter weekend found Raleigh in the "grasp of its greatest blizzard."

Cut off from communication with the rest of the world, telephone, telegraph, electric light wires haning in tangled masses around snapped poles; completely obstructing many streets; car system demoralized; and streets themselves standing rivers of half-melted snow; this is the condition into which the severest snow storms on record for the month of April has plunged Raleigh. After groping, working and hoping for a whole day, there is scant promise that Sunday will furnish much relief.

Since the Carolina Light and Power Company turned of its current at the request of Mayor Johnson at 2 o'clock Saturday morning, and since the last click over the telegraph wires of the Western Union at about the same time, Raleigh has been without electric power or telegraphic communication.

Last night, the city loomed up menacingly in darkness complete, save where pale gas lights, lamps and candles flared and flickered. It was a lonely looking Raleigh, too, with few pedestrians on the streets, and they in a monstrous hurry. For places of amusement were closed, and the movies were deserted.

Heavier snows have visited Raleigh on one or two occasions than that which enveloped Raleigh in a thick white cloud for almost seventeen hours. But the snow fall of Friday and Saturday, ten inches in depth, possessed more powers for havoc than even the heaviest. The moisture laden flakes settled one upon another in an automatic sort of packing process. Had it been the usual dry snow of this section, the continuous fall for seventeen hours would have totalled from fifteen to eighteen inches, according to the local Weather Bureau....

When Raleigh waked up Saturday morning, it was to see the city in the clutches of the severest blizzard of its history. The snow melting under foot and falling heavily from above made walking difficult and disagreeable. Telegraph poles stretched across almost every street and sometimes at intervals of every thirty yards obstructed traffic. The work of repairing the damage done was begun immediately. But it was slow, slow toil. Every available man on the systems of the Bell Telephone Company, the Western Union, the Postal, the Raleigh Telephone Company was put to work on the streets.

At eleven o'clock, according to Mr. Paul A. Tillery, assistant general manager of the Carolina Power and Light Company everything was in readiness to turn on power. But to Mayor Johnson, there appeared great danger in this. He directed the following to the Carolina Power and Light Company.

"As mayor of the city of Raleigh, recognizing the fact that there may be danger in having the electric current turned on tonight, after careful thought and consideration, notwithstanding the fact that you state that you are ready to turn on the same, as a matter of the greatest precaution and protection to life and property, I respectfully request that you do not turn on any current tonight." -- The News & Observer 4/4/1915

A traveler who was able to make it in from Durham by rail reported that conditions there were just as bad.

"The engineer told me that he had picked enough wire out of his wheels between here and Greensboro to wire the entire city of Raleigh," reported Mr. Will X. Coley, who came into the city from Durham Saturday morning. It took two hours to make the trip. Cautiously, the train moved along the line, stopping every now and then. Poles were across the track and to have sped on at the usual rate would have damaged the entire train and its load of human freight.

"Everything is out of commission in Durham," said Mr. Coley to a Times representative Saturday morning. "The street cars have stopped and the lights are out."

Mr. Coley reported that he was informed the entire country between here and Greensboro was in the grip of the blizzard. In Durham the storm descended and the wind blew. The Bull City is certainly a sister sufferer with this city and this is one time that neither city has it on the other. -- The Raleigh Times 4/3/1915

Protecting Raleigh's children

The 1960s brought dark days to the children of Raleigh when the City Council determined the operation of ice cream trucks on city streets to be too dangerous.

Although defenders of the vendors argued that banning them was discrimination against a particular type of business and that accidents had been relatively few, the council voted in favor of "an ordinance prohibiting the sale of ice cream from mobile units on Raleigh streets."

Photo courtesy of the NC State Archives

Raleigh Times writer Shirley Mudge explained that this wasn’t the first time the city had tried to pass laws for the protection of children.

Several years ago treasure hunts sponsored by a local radio station led adults as well as children into the streets and by-way searching for clues to the location of some prize.

Councilmen, concerned about the way youngsters were drawn into the streets on such hunts, passed an ordinance prohibiting the games.

Two other city ordinances were designed specifically with children in mind. One prohibits the leaving of abandoned refrigerators (with doors on them) where children might be injured. Another prohibits the sale of fire crackers.

On the subject of ice cream sales, Mayor W. G. Enloe and several city councilmen have indicated they do not favor allowing ice cream trucks in residential areas because they allegedly cause some children to dash into streets without looking.

Other councilmen have argued that prohibiting the sale is unfair to the ice cream companies since the sale of vegetables and certain other goods is permitted on city streets. -- The Raleigh Times 2/24/1962

It took some time, but the sun finally came out again for ice cream lovers, and writer Judy Bolch took a ride with a local vendor.

Once a fixture on the summer scene, the ice cream truck and its tinkling bells disappeared about 15 years ago following a two-year controversy in which city ordinances prohibiting such sales -- on the grounds they were dangerous to children-- were twice ruled invalid by the state Supreme Court. After that, according to City Atty. Tom MCCormick, the trucks were not illegal, but apparently few, if any, were operating....

A whole new generation of ice cream lovers is getting used to door-to-door delivery of their favorite treat and getting over their surprise at seeing the truck in their neighborhoods.

Riding along with Barry Harmon, a driver for Good Time Ice Cream Inc., ... is a lesson in how to make people happy.

None of the children queried on Harmon’s route had ever seen an ice cream man before ... but they knew what it was, they reported, from pictures.

Therefore, Harmon is a man pursued....

Children pedal furiously after him on their bikes and screeches of "ice cream!" emanate from inside houses.

On a typical day his truck will cover 75 to 100 miles, and he’ll dispense hundreds of the Popsicles, multi-flavored sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, frozen Heath bars, Fudgsicles, pushups and Cheerios which comprise his menu of 25 to 45-cent items.

"I love it," Harmon said about his job as he drove this big white truck around the winding streets of a West Raleigh neighborhood recently. He likes not only the joy of his customers but also the freedom which comes from going where the ice cream trail takes him.

Periodically Harmon jingled the group of four small bells (each with three clappers) which decorates his windshield. More rarely he sounded the clanging electric bell which penetrates even the cocoon of an air-conditioned home. "If I use it too much, it gives me a headache," Harmon said.

He stopped his truck, and a 90-year-old woman, escorted by a companion, hobbled to the curb. "She comes out every day," he said....

"A lot of people come up and buy one ice cream for them and one for their dogs. One man told me that if he’s not there, just to give one to the dog and he’ll pay me later," Harmon said. -- The Raleigh Times 6/17/1977

Campus craze started in North Carolina

Early in March 1974, as the nation watched N.C. State's Wolfpack began its journey to a NCAA victory in Greensboro, college campuses across the country were striving to win a different title.

Former N&O writers David Zucchino and Jerry Allegood explained how the streaking phenomenon came to North Carolina.

The huge blue and white signs stretched from window to window atop the old brown dorm at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reads: "Home of the World Champion Streakers."

Inside, the nerve center of the American Streaker Society distributes posters announcing a campus streak and sells "I'm a Carolina Streaker" stickers at 25 cents apiece....

And if North Carolina is the nation's streak center -- Western Carolina staged the country's first major streak -- then UNC is rapidly becoming the center stage for taking it all off.

Roughly 208 UNC males purportedly set a short-lived national record last week in a nude romp over the school's quads and undergraduate library. Since then, so many colleges have laid claim to the record that it has largely become a mythical goal.

Carolina's streak was loosely organized by the American Streaker Society , located somewhere on the fourth floor of Mangum dorm. Nobody seems to know exactly who assembles all the bare bodies in once place, but posters announcing the streaks have been circulated across campus.

So naturally the question arises: Why streak?

"It's a challenge," said Randy Tripps, a Mangum dorm resident who ran in what is now known to Mangumites as the "200 Streak." "We wanted to set a record, and it just snowballed."

Senior Dean Shorkley, who missed the "200 Streak" but romped in one of several 10-to-15 man streaks, attributed the craze to "a bad case of spring fever." Shorkley also said most male students ran in the 200 Streak because 20 girls from near-by Joyner dorm had pranced naked under Mangum's windows the night before.

Richard Martin, another Mangum resident, said he thought students streak mainly because everybody does it.

At East Carolina Unniversity in Greenville where streaking took place Monday night, Dr. Charles G. Mitchell, professor and chairman of the ECU pshchology department, took a lenient view of the activities.

"The best response for authority is to laugh at it," said Mitchell.

Mitchell, who emphasized that he was not speaking for ECU, said the motivation for streaking is no different from eating goldfish, a fad of college students many years ago. He also pointed out that later generations staging panty raids sometimes were injured in the fracas but streaking has been "non-destructive."

Naked runners may disturb the sensibilities of some people, he said, but they aren't hurting anyone.

"If anybody gets shocked at the human body, that's their problem," he said.

Mitchell said there are apparently three motivations for streaking. It is primarily a fad, he said, students are influenced by the action of their peers, and it is a way of releasing tension and flaunting the establishment.

According to the professor, trouble resulted in the past when authorities attempted to interfere with student fads. However, he said, he could not predict whether streaking would die out or lead to other activities if allowed to continue.

Whatever the reason, streaking does occasionally have its painful moments. One UNC student reportedly broke his leg by streaking too fast Wednesday night, then hobbled naked Thursday night wearing only a cast and two crutches.

Glen Ferrell of UNC pulled a muscle during the "200 Streak" and had to hop back to the dorm in the nude. Call it stumble streaking.

Just watching streakers can be dangerous, too. Students said a fully clothed male student began running beside a naked coed during one streak, but got to staring so hard that he smacked into a tree.

Even the mass media is getting into the act, providing national exposure, if you will. Tripps said he appeared on the CBS Evening News last week wearing only a red hard hat, and also recognized himself on Durham and Raleigh stations' newscasts.

In a bold streak, Tripps said he and two other male students strolled down Franklin Street in the heart of Chapel Hill, stark naked.

"The straight people and girls looked away," he said."But all the drunks who saw us just cheered." -- The N&O 3/6/1974

The streak of 200 at UNC was reported to be a record, so of course, other campuses set out to break that record. Raleigh Times writer John Walston documented the efforts at N.C. State.

The naked Wolfpack tried, and tried again, and tried a third time.

But the N. C. State University students could not amass enough people ... to capture the national streaking title, claimed by 200 students at the Universith of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

But State may have set some records of its own anyway.

The State streakers didn't romp in the buff just once, but three times. And they racked up about four miles, maybe an all-time distance record...

There may have been 1,000 or 2,000 or 3,000 spectators last night. Nobody counted noses and nobody collected tickets...

They watched the streakers -- all but two of them male -- make three dashes. The longest started at Sullivan Dormitory in the western part of campus and proceeded to the Becton Dormitory area near Pullen Road before returning to Sullivan.

The first streak, at 10 p.m., drew only 30 participants, two of whom were women. But at 11 p.m., to the chants of "Go to hell, Carolina," "We're number one" and "Streak, streak, streak," 50 males stripped and ran through the central part of campus circling two women's dorms.

The final run looked more like the Boston Marathon as 80 guys ran the length of the NCSU campus and back amid cheering and startled stares.

"We just want to beat Carolina," said one of the organizers of the streak. "We're just having' fun." -- The Raleigh Times 3/1/74

Response to the student fad varied from one campus to another. Banks C. Talley Jr., dean of student affairs at N.C. State, stated there would be no official administration position, feeling the craze would soon run its course. At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, campus security intervened. When one streaking co-ed was detained in a campus police car, the car was surrounded by students chanting "let her go!" and letting the air out of the car's tires.

NC State students try to set a streaking record on February 28, 1974.

Betty Smith: Tar Heel of the Week

Sunday's paper had a profile of Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, written by Mary Miller.

Betty Smith was also profiled in 1967, in this Tar Heel of the Week feature written by Jane Hall.

(click to read)

Tobacco markets were a way of life

Eastern North Carolina’s tobacco markets and festivals were once the highlight of the social calendar. As the 1992 markets ramped up, N&O writer and Wilson native Dennis Rogers remarked on the weight the tobacco market still carried.

The dusty song begins anew today as it has each summer for longer than anyone has been alive.

At 9 a.m. in sweltering warehouses across the flat lands of Eastern North Carolina, the sweet chant of tobacco auctioneers will rattle tin roofs. The old refrain will bring joy and prosperity to the few and will leave many others cursing the sweat they’ve shed.

You’d best save your anti-tobacco crusades for another day, pal. Forget nit-picking over restaurant seats and social niceties of secondhand smoke. These people are talking money, big money, as the 1992 tobacco market opens in the heartland of North Carolina. It is -- hallelujah and praise Jesus -- payday at last.

Between now and the cool weather of October, $156 million will change hands in this one sleepy town. And 91 million pounds of brightleaf tobacco, so delicious and pretty it is the envy of the world, will move through 15 warehouses that slouch across this town 45 miles east of downtown Raleigh. Close to 3,000 people work every day in the industry that has, for more years than anyone can remember, secured Wilson’s claim as the World’s Largest Tobacco Market.

You cannot overstate how much this day means in a tobacco town like Wilson. Take the city’s two leading radio stations: WGTM stands for “World Greatest Tobacco Market.” WVOT stands for “Wilson’s Voice of Tobaccoland.” Old tobacco money built the mansions that line the broad streets west of downtown, far from the toasty, acrid smell of flue-cured tobacco.

“Tobacco is still an important part of the town’s business, “ said John Harris, director of the Wilson Tobacco Board of Trade. Harris, 75, came to this market in 1934 and stayed.

“It is not like it used to be. Back in the old days, a sharecropper with a few acres of tobacco would sell his crop and go straight to the stores and buy clothes and shoes for his children. Now most of it is sold by people who lease their allotments from other people. It’s a big business now.”

But that doesn’t mean the sale has changed one whit from the horse-and-wagon days. Some things are too perfect to fiddle with.

Once farmers lined the city streets all night with their fragrant fortunes, waiting to get inside the warehouse to unload. Those steamy summer nights often turned into parties as bootleggers, grifters, drifters, con men and whores plied their trade. The local cops tried to keep the worst of it in line and winked at the rest.

Although farmers have appointments for their sale day, once the tobacco is unloaded and arranged on the floor in rows so long they disappear into the perpetual gloom of the huge buildings, the old ways take over.

The auctioneer starts down the aisle and begins the lyric chant that is nonsense noise to the outsider as he keeps an eye on the 10 buyers who trail in his wake, pawing the leaf. A nod or a flip of the hand and a buyer has agreed that his multinational company will take a pile of tobacco at the auctioneer’s price.

If the farmer likes the price, fine. If not, he turns the recorded price tag over and pulls his tobacco from the floor to roll the dice another day.

“It hasn’t changed in a hundred years,” Harris said. “We’re using computers in accounting, and that’s about it.” -- The N&O 7/21/1992

Catfish Cole was no stranger to trouble

Following the confrontation between the Ku Klux Klan and Lumbee Indians in Maxton in January 1958, self-proclaimed Klan leader James W. Cole was charged with inciting to riot. A news story at the time noted that Cole "calls himself reverend."

A few years ago, when he lived here, he was known by another name -- "Catfish."

Kinston and Lenoir County officers said that the Rev. James W. Cole of Marion, S. C. the Klan leader, is the same James W. (Catfish) Cole who has a lengthy police record here. The Cole police record here dates back to 1940, they said.

Charges ranged from assault to reckless driving, perjury in obtaining a chauffeur's license, resisting arrest, drunken driving, and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

In December 1941, he was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a Kinston police captain. The court ordered him to buy a new set of false teeth for the police officer.

Officers said Cole operated a taxi-cab and did odd jobs in Kinston. His mother operated a fruit stand here.

He was a member of the family which operated a circus and worked with the circus as a pitchman in a booth. He served in World War II. -- The N&O 1/21/1958

Battle of Maxton Field

In January 1958, the Ku Klux Klan staged a rally in the Robeson County town of Maxton to protest what members called race mixing in the county. Members of the Lumbee Indian tribe, which made up about a third of the county's population, had other ideas.

James W. Cole, a Free Will Baptist minister who called himself the leader of the Klan in North Carolina, had leased a field in Maxton, and the meeting had been well-publicized. A group of Lumbee Indians surrounded the outnumbered Klan members and drove them off without any casualties. Their victory was featured in a Life magazine photo spread the following week.

N&O reporter Charles Craven provided this account at the time.

When 8:30 p.m. arrived, time for the announced rally, Rev. Cole stood in the bitter cold with Sheriff (Malcolm) McLeod and a handful of deputies... Facing him in savage looking lines revealed by car lights, were the Indians, rifles and shotgun barrels projecting from their ranks.

Cole's Klansmen walked restlessly around him, staying in the shadows. "I can't promise you anything with this crowd," said the sheriff. "You can see that. Now you can go ahead and have the rally if you want to, but look around you."

Cole spoke with a dry tongue. His fuzzy-bearded face appeared livid with fear. He swallowed, his thin neck muscles working....

One of his cohorts came up and asked respectfully, "Governor, you want us to put up a rope. We got one."

"No, I don't believe so," said Cole weakly. "There's no use agitating them."

Klansmen around the public address system began to waver, move back slowly. The shouting Indians crept forward. Some of the teen-agers had smeared their faces with lipstick, war-paint fashion. One wore a feather war bonnet.

Cole looked up at the tall sheriff. "I know these Indians," he said condescendingly of them. But the inflection of condescension in his voice was not convincing.

Suddenly the light suspended over the KKK's P. A. system was blown out. The horde of Indians moved forward. Their silhouettes leaped in the darkness. Gun flames stabbed the night. The crowd scattered in panic. A deputy tossed a hissing tear gas bomb.

Only three or four persons were reported hit by the wild firing, none were reported critical. As far as could be determined in the darkness and confusion, not a Klansman returned the Indian fire. The Indians were firing mostly in the air. This action reportedly was a prearranged agreement among them, that they would not shoot to kill unless one of them was killed.

Before and during the riot, the metallic clink of guns being cocked and cartridges ejected could be sharply heard on the cold air.

As the riot was subsiding, 16 State Highway Patrolmen moved in with sub-machine guns. The crowd dispersed. Patrolmen directed the jam-packed traffic.


The contrast between the arrival of the Klansmen and their departure was something to behold. The first bunch of them arrived on the scene, a dry-grass field just outside of Maxton, in six or eight cars. They got out holding rifles and shotguns. Some wore revolvers and automatics in holsters at their belts. Several wore little white caps, like dunce caps. One sported full regalia, his chest decorated by a cross....

Then the Indians began to arrive. They just stood around. Not a weapon was in sight. The crowd grew. The yells began. ...

The incident was set off by a cross being burned in the driveway of a St. Pauls home..., reportedly as a warning to an Indian woman to stop dating a white man. Later in the week another cross was burned at East Lumberton, where an Indian family had moved into a white neighborhood. -- The News & Observer 1/20/1958

A published photo showed Lumbee Indians wrapped in a banner they took from one of the Klan cars.

Simeon Oxendine, son of the mayor of Pembroke, a Veteran of Foreign Wars district commander and a proud Lumbee Indian, smiled cockily as he displayed his trophy of a routed KKK rally...

"Whites and Indians have been mingling, intermarrying and living near each other in Robeson County since the Civil War," he declared. "The Klan was the cause of what happened last night.

"I don't know how many Indians were there. But enough to do the job. And I think the Klan is finished in Robeson County."

Folk singer and songwriter Malvina Reynolds, who was famous for her song Little Boxes, wrote and recorded the satirical song The Battle of Maxton Field.

(Top photo courtesy of the NC State Archives)

Tiny girl has a place in aviation history

By 1964, Georgia Ann “Tiny “ Broadwick was a grandmother. But a story by Grady Jefferys recalls her younger high-flying days, which began near her home in Henderson NC in 1908.

“I was about 15 years old at that time, Miss Broadwick recalls. “My daughter had been born about a year before and I was working in a cotton mill at Henderson trying to support her because her father and I had separated.”

In attempting to explain how she became interested in the new and dangerous sport of parachuting, Miss Broadwick simply shakes her head in puzzlement.

“I was always something of a tomboy,” she says, “and I remember the balloon act at a carnival between Raleigh and Durham simply fascinated me.”

The young mother was so fascinated she talked the owner of the act, Charles Broadwick into hiring her. Shortly afterwards, she adopted the name Broadwick and has used it ever since.

For almost three years, Miss Broadwick toured the nation with Broadwick, appearing at carnivals and amusement parks. After a brief training period, she began the act which spread her name and face over the pages of many of the nation’s newspapers and magazines.

Miss Broadwick’s specialty was leaping from a balloon over the carnival grounds -- to the amazement of the crowd, many of whom had never seen a balloon, much less a parachutist who was a girl.

“We received $250 per week,” Miss Broadwick remembers, “for a week’s performances. And that included two jumps daily -- one in the afternoon and one at night.”

In the night jumps, Miss Broadwick would soar aloft in the balloon carrying an assortment of torches and flares which made the fall a colorful, dramatic spectacle.

The balloons from which the “Doll Girl” made her spectacular jumps were home made contraptions constructed by Broadwick. They were filled by mounting them on a stand above a blazing coal-oil fire, Miss Broadwick remembers. If they were scorched during the filling process, they would sometimes rip apart during ascent.

Broadwick also made the parachutes used in the act. At first, they were made of cotton muslin which would tear in a strong wind.

The combination of homemade balloon and homemade parachute brought some narrow escapes for Miss Broadwick, but her only injury during more than 1,000 jumps was a broken wrist and a scratched face.

Scared? “Often,” Miss Broadwick recalls, “but never too scared to go up again.”

When the Broadwick act arrived in California, Miss Broadwick began doing exhibitions at the beaches to attract crowds on Sundays and holidays.

It was during one of the exhibitions that she met airplane manufacturer Glenn L. Martin.

Martin and Miss Broadwick immediately teamed up in an act which achieved fame throughout the U.S. During her association with Martin, Miss Broadwick made the world’s first parachute jump from a trap-seat on an airplane. The trap-seat was mounted directly beside the aircraft’s propellor and by pushing a lever, Miss Broadwick dropped into the windstream of the plane.

It was also with Martin that Miss Broadwick became the first person to jump from a pontoon-equipped aircraft and land on the water. The event was in Chicago in 1913. The landing was made in Lake Michigan before several thousand spectators.

In addition to her other firsts, Miss Broadwick is the first person to demonstrate a parachute for the U.S. Government. She credits the idea for the “airplane life preserver” to her mentor, Charles Broadwick.

Miss Broadwick and Martin demonstrated the chute to military personnel in California. “However, they didn’t take to the idea too quickly,” she recalls.

“It seems they were afraid that if pilots were equipped with the life preservers they would jump out of the planes at the first indication of trouble and let the plane crash. And at that time, the United States only had about three airplanes.”


Miss Broadwick retired from parachute jumping in 1922 and began working as a practical nurse. However, during World War II, she worked in a California aircraft factory.


Despite her age and the number of years which have elapsed since her last jump, Miss Broadwick has never lost her enthusiasm for parachuting.

“It’s hard to explain,” she says. “There’s just nothing quite like the feeling you get when you plunge down and then the chute opens.” -- The News & Observer 2/2/1964

Tiny Broadwick died in California in 1978 and is buried in Vance County.

Read more about Tiny Broadwick

(Photos courtesy of the NC State Archives)

World War II documentary features Raleigh veteran

“The rate at which we are losing World War II veterans today is staggering,” says filmmaker Cliff Bumgardner. “Their stories must be told, recorded and played back for future generations so that we never forget what these amazing men and women did for our country.”

Raleigh resident Vic Spence fought on Iwo Jima during World War II and witnessed the iconic moment when six Marines raised the United States’ flag on Mount Suribachi. Over 60 years later, Bumgardner captured the story in his first documentary.

Bumgardner will discuss his short film during History à la Carte: Behind the Film: Vic Spence, A Documentary of Life and War on Wednesday, March 13, from 12:10 to 1 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. In the film, the Marine Corps veteran and Purple Heart recipient tells his story in his own words. Admission is free. Bring your lunch; beverages will be provided.

View the documentary and talk to its 20-year-old director about the war and modern storytelling through film. Vic Spence chronicles the veteran’s journey from childhood to Parris Island and Iwo Jima to his 40 years of service in law enforcement.

For more information about the Museum of History, call 919-807-7900 or access or Facebook.

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