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John Carruthers Stanly, Black Master of New Bern

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 01:00

On March 12, 1795, John Carruthers Stanly was freed from slavery in New Bern through a petition of his owners, Alexander and Lydia Stewart.

Generally acknowledged to be the son of prominent New Bern merchant John Wright Stanly and an enslaved African woman, Stanly was born in 1774. He received a good education, trained as a barber and was generally treated with kindness by his owners.

Able to work as a barber while still enslaved, Stanly  was earning a considerable income and was well-known in the community by the time he was freed at the age of 21. He soon began to buy up property, both in New Bern and the surrounding rural areas, and purchased the freedom of his wife and children.

Stanly continued to proposer and became one the richest men in Craven County in the period, dealing in property, renting some of his land, planting cotton and manufacturing turpentine.

As his wealth grew, Stanly began to purchase slaves of his own to meet the increased demands for labor created by his businesses. At one point, he owned more than 160 slaves, making him one of the largest slaveholders in area, and the largest black slaveholder in the South.

Stanly died in 1846.

Visit: The Stanly House, home to the man who is widely regarded as Carruthers Stanly’s father, is now part of Tryon Palace.

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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.

 

Burlesque Advertisement Prompts Lawsuit

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 01:00

On March 11, 1936,the Greensboro Daily News ran a racy ad for a burlesque show that was appearing for two days in town. Pictured in the ad were two scantily clad young women, one of whom was Winston-Salem native Nancy Flake. While she was not identified by name in the ad, the young radio entertainer and big band vocalist was hurt and embarrassed by the improper use of the photograph that had been taken by Columbia Broadcasting Company for their advertising use.

When the image was run in the newspaper, many of her relatives and her parents’ friends saw it and questioned the family about their daughter’s association with the burlesque show. Since, at 19, Miss Flake was considered a minor, her mother contacted a lawyer who filed a suit in Forsyth County District Court for invasion of privacy. Even though the newspaper ran a retraction, the case was decided in Flake’s favor and she was awarded $6,500 for being exposed to ridicule and contempt.

On appeal, the North Carolina Supreme Court ordered a new trial, but the lawyers involved signed a final judgment that awarded Flake $1 for damages plus court costs.

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.

Convict Labor Constructed Swannanoa Tunnel

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 01:00

On March 11, 1879, the Western North Carolina Railroad’s Swannanoa Tunnel opened. The tunnel opened the mountain region to growth and freed it from its relative state of isolation.

Authorized by the General Assembly in 1855, construction of the tunnel was spurred by a drought in 1845. The drought resulted in a total crop failure on mountain farms. Pack trains and loaded wagons were unable to provide frontier families with enough food to carry them through to the next crop.

By the beginning of the Civil War, all but 70 miles of the route into Asheville was complete. During Reconstruction, the state secured $4 million in bonds for the completion of the project, but construction was delayed after key players embezzled some of the funds. It did not resume until 1877.

The General Assembly approved the use of 500 convicts as laborers, and 125 men lost their lives in the course of the work. Though the tunnel was cut through in March 1879, it wasn’t until October 1880 that the tracks were clear and the first train from Salisbury reached Asheville.

Visit: The N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer tells the story of our state’s transportation history with a special focus on rail.

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.

End of Story for CSS Neuse

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 01:00

On March 11, 1865, the Confederate ironclad CSS Neuse was scuttled in the Neuse River, just downstream from Kinston, to prevent its capture by advancing Union forces. Following the Battle of Wyse Fork, fought the three days earlier, Gen. Braxton Bragg ordered the gunboat’s commander, Capt. Joseph Price, to use his vessel to hold off Union Gen. Jacob D. Cox’s force while the Confederate Army evacuated the town and retreated west toward Goldsboro. The ship was then to be destroyed.

The CSS Neuse had been partially constructed at what is now Seven Springs, starting in October 1862. It was floated downriver to Kinston in the summer of 1863, where it was outfitted with armor plating, engines and guns. The project was delayed numerous times, but the Neuse was launched in April 1864 and commanded to steam downriver to assist in an attempt to recapture Union-occupied New Bern.

Unfortunately, the ship ran aground and never made it downriver again until being called into action in March 1865. Following Gen. Bragg’s orders, once the evacuation of Kinston was complete, the crew of the Neuse set fire to the ship and left it to sink. By March 13, the crew was in Halifax awaiting their next assignment.

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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 subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

The Swannanoa Tunnel Opens

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 01:00

On March 11, 1879, the Western North Carolina Railroad’s Swannanoa Tunnel opened. The tunnel opened the region to growth and freed it from its previous state of isolation.

Authorized by the General Assembly in 1855, construction of the tunnel was spurred by a drought in 1845. The drought resulted in a total crop failure on mountain farms, and pack trains and loaded wagons were unable to provide frontier families with enough food to carry them through to the next crop.

By the beginning of the Civil War, all but 70 miles of the route into Asheville was complete. During Reconstruction, the state secured $4 million in bonds for the completion of the project, but construction was delayed after key players embezzled some of the funds. It did not resume until 1877.

The General Assembly approved the use of 500 convicts as laborers, and 125 men lost their lives in the course of the work. Though the tunnel was holed through in March 1879, it wasn’t until October 1880 that the tracks were clear and the first train from Salisbury entered Asheville.

Check out the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer for more awesome pieces of history from our transportation past.

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.

Birthday for N.C. A&T State University

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 01:00

On March 9, 1891, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University was founded as a land grant institution for African Americans. The school, originally named the Agricultural and Mechanical College, was established as a result of the Second Morrill Act, enacted by Congress in 1890, which mandated separate colleges for the “colored race.” 

Initially, the college shared space with Shaw University, but eventually moved to its permanent home in Greensboro with the assistance of Dewitt Clinton Benbow, a Guilford County businessman and philanthropist, and Charles H. Moore, an African American educator and businessman.

In 1915, the state legislature changed the name to Agricultural and Technical College. In 1967, the college became a university and took its current name, and in 1972, N.C. A&T became a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina system.

Today, N.C. A&T has more than 10,000 students and awards degrees in bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs with a strong emphasis on engineering, science and technology. It awards more degrees in engineering to African Americans than any other university in the country and is the second-largest producer of minority agricultural graduates nationwide.

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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 subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

 

Speaker Ban Law Challenged At UNC-Chapel Hill

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 01:00

On March 9, 1966, Herbert Aptheker attempted to speak to students near the Confederate monument at UNC-Chapel Hill.  The campus police chief escorted him a short distance away to a spot technically off-campus.  There, Aptheker, a historian and member of the Communist Party, spoke to 2,000 students from the sidewalk outside the rock wall that separates the campus from Franklin Street.

The speech came almost three years after the state legislature passed on June 26, 1963, “An Act to Regulate Visiting Speakers at State Supported Colleges and Universities,” otherwise known as the Speaker Ban law.  The action came just weeks after students joined others in Raleigh to advocate civil rights.  The Speaker Ban forbade from speaking at a state school any known Communist, anyone who advocated overthrow of the government, or anyone who exercised Fifth Amendment rights when questioned on related topics. Passage of the law came with very little debate on the last day of the legislative term.

Administrators, faculty and students loudly protested the infringement of First Amendment rights but it was not until 1968 that the law was declared unconstitutional.

In October 2011 a marker commemorating the actions of students to challenge the Speaker Ban law was dedicated on the spot where Aptheker’s speech took place.

For more, check out “William Friday and the North Carolina Speaker Ban Crisis, 1963-1968,” in the North Carolina Historical Review 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, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

The Dougherty Brothers and Appalachian State University

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 01:00

On March 9, 1903, the General Assembly granted brothers B.B. and D.D. (short for Blanchard Barnard and Dauphin Disco, respectively) Dougherty a charter for the Appalachian Training School for Teachers.

The school had its roots in the Doughertys’ Watauga Academy, which they established in 1899 to train public school teachers for jobs in western North Carolina. With both brothers at the helm, B. B. Dougherty was considered head of school, while D. D., was the principal.

D. D. served as the budding school’s business manager and head trustee until June 1929 when he died of a heart attack on the first day of registration. The original library on the campus is named in his honor.

B. B. remained president of the college until retirement in 1955, and he died two years later at age 87. During his nearly 60 years of service to the school, the Appalachian had grown from a small teaching college with a single two-year degree program to a regional center for higher education with four-year bachelor’s program and a graduate school.

Twelve years after B. B.’s retirement, the state legislature changed the school’s name to Appalachian State University. The campus has been a part of the UNC system since 1972.

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.