Evangelist Billy Graham, who marked his 93rd birthday today, can now be heard back through the six decades of his public ministry. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has made available nearly 1,700 audio files of sermons at Graham's famous crusades, radio broadcasts, and public remarks. The archives are searchable by location, date and topic.
The N.C. History Museum kicks off the completion of its largest exhibit ever, The Story of North Carolina, with its Celebrate N.C. History Festival tomorrow from 11 to 4 in Bicentennial Plaza.
This is the completion of the exhibit which opened with Part one in April. Part two leads museum-goers through the antebellum era, the Civil War, the rise of industry, the Great Depression, the two World Wars, and the Civil Rights movement. It contains artifacts, such as the state’s fourth-oldest house, which was built in 1742 in Pitt County, objects recovered from the shipwreck of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge; uniforms and weapons from the Civil War and two World Wars; and agricultural tools and equipment. It includes several hands-on displays that show you what if felt like to work in a cotton mill or what a lunch-counter sit-in looked like.
Saturday's festival will include music, food, stories, and of course, 20,000 square feet of history.
When the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution gave women the right to vote in 1920, it was without the help of North Carolina legislators.
The women's suffrage amendment, also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, had been ratified by 35 of the necessary 36 states when 63 of the 120 North Carolina House members signed a telegram sent to the Tennessee legislature urging them to vote NO.
We, the undersigned members of the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of North Carolina, constituting a majority of said body, send greetings to the General Assembly of Tennessee, and assure you that we will not ratify the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, interfering with the sovereignty of Tennessee and other States of the Union. We most respectfully request that this measure be not forced upon the people of North Carolina.
Two days later, Tennessee did ratify the amendment, and women's right to vote became law. The North Carolina House went on to reject the amendment, but the Senate tabled their vote. And there it sat for the next fifty years.
Goldsboro's Gertrude Weil had been in the forefront of the suffragette movement and was undeterred by the struggle.
Her father had arrived in Goldsboro from Germany shortly after the Civil War. She was born in 1879 in the West Chestnut Street house her father had built and where she would live her entire life.
Her parents infused her with a sense of social responsibility that was strengthened by her education at Horace Mann, an exclusive prep school in New York City, and Smith College in Northampton, Mass. In 1901, Miss Weil became the first North Carolina graduate of Smith.
In college, Miss Weil read John Stewart Mill, Henry George, Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels.
Her philosophy blended a critique of capitalism with the Progressivism of muckraking journalists and labor leaders.
In 1914, she played a vital role in establishing the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League and was president of the organization from 1919 to 1920. She later founded the North Carolina League of Women Voters and went on to fight for a study of the harsh labor conditions in North Carolina factories. Her efforts continued through bloody strikes at factories in Marion and Gastonia in 1928.
"I have never understood," she said, "why we have to work so hard for things that seem so obvious. Why should you have to get up and make speeches to treat people right?"
She believed that racism and poverty had deep roots. It was the job of an activist not only to help solve individual injustices, but to attack the roots of social ills. -- The News & Observer 3/16/1984
In 1965, N&O writer Betsy Marsh interviewed Miss Weil about the many awards and honors she had received and found her characteristically modest.
Back in the early years of the 1900s Miss Weil became active in efforts to get the vote for women. She has been credited with initiating the suffrage movement in North Carolina, but she insists she was only a small part of it.
"Please make it clear that I didn't start all the organizations I've been credited with," she said.
"The North Carolina Suffrage League was organized in 1916 or thereabout by Mrs. Archibald Henderson in Chapel Hill," she recalls.
Miss Gertrude worked at it with such enthusiasm that she was elected president of the state organization -- serving in 1920, the year that the North Carolina General Assembly considered -- and failed to ratify -- the woman suffrage amendment to the Constitution.
When the legislature met in special session that year, Miss Weil and her suffragettes went to Raleigh to plead their cause. "I guess I never was a politician," she confides. "I never could tell after I talked with a lawmaker whether he was for us or against us." Apparently they were against them.
The legislature failed to ratify the amendment, and the opportunity for North Carolina to make suffrage for women the law of the land slipped by. "Only one more state was needed to make it law," said Miss Weil. "The honor went to Tennessee." -- The News & Observer 3/14/1965
North Carolina finally did ratify the amendment on May 6, 1971, just 24 days before Miss Weil's death at age 91.
See more photos and writings of Gertrude Weil at the Jewish Women's Archive.
Starting life as a bank and then serving under the name of the county's first manager before coming down to make way for the new Wake County Justice Center, the old Garland H. Jones Building opened as "Fancy First Federal" fifty years ago this week.
The building was in vogue in 1961, when the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Raleigh declared its new headquarters the city's "newest and finest office building." The building was one of the first in the city to feature a curtain wall -- of glass, blue panels and vertical strips of aluminum -- attached to the building's frame but not bearing its weight. At one corner, a four-story panel of white marble appears to float above the sidewalk, which is shaded by a low overhang.
In keeping with the times, the building also featured a drive-up banking window and a bomb shelter in the basement. -- The News & Observer 1/10/2009
The fallout shelter, which would accommodate 100 people, was stocked with food, blankets, first aid equipment and water, with cots and radiation detection equipment on the way. Such precautions must have seemed necessary given the front page headline the day before the building's October 31 dedication. The Soviets had just set off "the biggest man-made explosion in history, a blast that may have topped the power of the 50-megaton bomb forecast by Premier Nikita Khrushchev" above the arctic testing ground.
But the building was not without its controversies. "Another Raleigh landmark will bite the dust" is how newspapers reported that the "ultra-modern office building" would replace the Academy Building, which was built in 1893. Even the sidewalk caused a fuss.
The new building is the only one in Raleigh that has colored sidewalks -- red concrete.
Time was when a colored sidewalk in the business downtown area caused such a furor that the city's governing boy ordered it ripped out.
W. N. H. Jones of Raleigh, whose family owned property at 130 Fayetteville St., recalls when a "pink" sidewalk put down there had to be torn out and replaced with regular concrete.
Beatus Shops, a woman's wearing apparel chain, opened a shop on Fayetteville Street ..
William Beatus, owner of the chain, had workmen pour a sidewalk in front of the store which consisted of pink stone chips embedded in concrete.
Jones said the sidewalk was pink and resembled terrazzo, but was actually cement mixed with pink stone chips.
Records show that the Board of City Commissioners of that day ordered the pink sidewalk torn out for these reasons:
Beatus had not obtained a proper permit for such a sidewalk; it didn't meet specifications; and the other merchants complained the pink sidewalk would offer unfair competition.
"Following protests from other merchants," records show "commissioners condemned the walk on October 26."
Beatus appealed for a reconsideration, but was told to remove the fancy sidewalk. -- The News & Observer 10/22/1961
The historians at the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources have posted a 1933 obituary of baseball pitcher Alphonse Martin, including his connection to North Carolina.
While stationed at Fort Reno on the northern end of Roanoke Island during the occupation of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Union soldiers often had free time. Martin, a native New Yorker, had played on a pre-war team called the Unions, one of 16 teams that competed regularly in the metropolitan New York area. Union soldiers brought baseball down South during the war, as it had originated in Maine as “town ball” and spread through New England.
Martin was known for a slow, curved pitch that was incredibly difficult for batters to hit, and he earned the name “Phoney Ball.” After the war, Martin returned to New York and pitched for the New York Mutuals and the Brooklyn Eckfords. Although Martin pitched the curve during the Civil War, Arthur “Candy” Cummings is credited with inventing the pitch in 1867, playing for the Brooklyn Excelsiors.
A plaque for Cummings at the Baseball Hall of Fame states “Inventor of the Curveball,” but Cummings admitted to baseball historian Alfred H. Spink that he felt Martin had first pitched a curve ball. Cummings reportedly said of other pitchers, “But none of those pitchers knew they had a curve, and I suppose it is fair to say I was the first to find out what a curve was and how it was done.”
Governor Perdue has proclaimed next week Archives Week in North Carolina. In celebration, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources' State Archives has a couple of events planned to highlight the archive collections.
On Monday October 24, the public is invited to browse some rarely exhibited items from the Civil War collection. These include the 1863 letter bearing the last words of the mortally wounded Col. Isaac Avery from Burke County and a map of General Sherman's Carolinas Campaign, as well as a letter from a young mother asking her husband what to name the new baby and including a paper cutout of the child's tiny hand. Archivists will be on had to provide context and further information about the items.
These Civil War treasures will be on display from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the State Archives Search Room at 109 East Jones Street.
On Wednesday October 26, a collection of historical films will be showing in the State Archives Conference Room from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. These films include footage of small town North Carolina from the 1930s and 40s filmed by Lexington photographer and filmmaker H. Lee Waters.
The schedule for this mini film festival can be found here. All events are free to the public.