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Sci-Fi and Horror Master Manly Wade Wellman

This Day in North Carolina History - Tue, 04/11/2017 - 01:00

On April 5, 1986, author Manly Wade Wellman died in Chapel Hill.

Born in 1903 in the African nation of Angola where his father was a medical officer, Wellman returned to the United States with his family when he was 6. After receiving degrees from what is now Wichita State University and Columbia Law School, he moved to North Carolina in 1947.

Wellman’s prolific career as a professional writer began in 1927 when he worked as a newspaper reporter and submitted stories to pulp fiction magazines. He primarily wrote historical nonfiction focusing on the Civil War but also penned historical crime and books in other genres. His fiction included juvenile historical adventures set in the Carolinas during the American Revolution and the Civil War, mysteries and science fiction.

Wellman’s best-regarded writings are in the genres of fantasy and horror. Their inspiration was often derived from Appalachian or Native American folklore. His best-known character was Silver John, a balladeer whose wanderings in the mountains brought him into conflict with various supernatural entities.

Wellman taught creative writing at the University of North Carolina in the 1960s. He received numerous awards for both his fiction and nonfiction. Following his death Wellman was cremated and his ashes scattered in his Chapel Hill yard.

For more on North Carolina writers, check out the North Carolina Literary Trails from the N.C. Arts Council.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Valvano’s 1983 Championship Stuff of Memories for Wolfpack Fans

This Day in North Carolina History - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 01:00

On April 4, 1983, the North Carolina State University Wolfpack won the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

After a series of unlikely and often last minute wins that began during the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament weeks earlier, the “Cardiac Pack,” under the leadership of head coach Jim Valvano, culminated its run with a barn burner over the University of Houston Cougars. The Cougars were nicknamed “Phi Slama Jama” for their expertise in slam dunking basketballs over the heads of opponents, so chances were slim that the underdog Wolfpack would pull off the upset.

One Washington Post sports reporter wrote, “Trees will tap-dance, elephants will drive at Indy and Orson Welles will skip lunch before North Carolina State finds a way to beat Houston.” But find a way they did. Both State’s first and last shots were dunks, and that last shot came just as the buzzer sounded, clinching the victory for the Pack, 54-52.

The images of Lorenzo Charles making the basket and Coach Valvano running around the court looking for someone to hug have become iconic in sports culture, and both are fitting tributes to two extraordinary individuals who are no longer with us.

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For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

A Place for H. H. Brimley: The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences

This Day in North Carolina History - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 01:00

On April 4, 1946, H. H. Brimley died.

Visitors to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh encounter one exhibit that is distinctly different from all the rest. It is the cluttered office of Herbert Hutchinson Brimley, the museum’s original curator and first director. Brimley’s tenure at the museum stretched from 1895 until his death more than 50 years later.

Brimley and his brother Clement emigrated from England to America in 1880, and shortly thereafter opened a taxidermy shop in Raleigh. They quickly gained reputations as two of the South’s leading naturalists.

Their first work for the state was to create an exhibit on waterfowl and fishes for the State Exposition of 1884. The Department of Agriculture, which oversaw the display, found the exhibit too valuable to discard. The department found a more permanent place in its halls for the exhibit and, in time, found a more permanent place for Brimley, too, as the exhibit’s curator and director of the museum it began.

Once simply the State Museum, the institution has been the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences since 1986. One of North Carolina’s most popular attractions, the museum now averages more than 700,000 visitors per year.

Click here to see more historical photos of Brimley and the Museum of Natural Sciences from the State Archives.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

National Guard Called Out to Suppress Strike

This Day in North Carolina History - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 01:00

On April 4, 1929, the National Guard was called out by Governor O. Max Gardner to suppress a strike at the Loray Mill in Gastonia.  Organized in 1900, the mill was the largest in North Carolina at the time. Employing more than 2,000 workers at its peak, the mill was also reported to be the largest factory under one roof in the United States.

Because of its size, the United Textile Workers of America targeted the mill and formed a local chapter there in 1919. On March 30, 1929 workers began a walkout with a general strike on April 1.  The union sent activists to the mill, and the strike began to draw national press coverage, lasting through the summer and into the fall.

Violence escalated and in June, Gastonia’s chief of police, O. F. Aderholdt was shot and killed. In September, mill worker Ella May Wiggins, a ballad singer and Union sympathizer, was killed. Wiggins had been a focus and inspiration during the organizing drive. More violence followed her death, setting back union organizing efforts substantially and creating a wave of anti-union sentiment across the state.

The area around the mill is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can also learn more about the industry in general by picking up a copy of The Textile Industry in North Carolina from N.C. Historical Publications.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.