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Physicians Form Professional Alliance, 1849

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 01:00

On April 16, 1849, the Medical Society of North Carolina was established after several state legislators, who were also physicians, called for a state medical convention.

The organization wasn’t the first statewide group for doctors. An earlier association had been chartered by the General Assembly in 1799 but was no longer meeting by 1805. The new organization’s goals were largely the same as its predecessor’s: to unite physicians across the state, represent their interests and to help professionalize the practice of medicine.

Edmund Strudwick, an Orange County native and surgeon, was the group’s first president. He had an excellent reputation, having served in the General Assembly and Congress, helped establish UNC’s medical school and aided in the construction of the Dorothea Dix Hospital.

The society’s first goals were creating stricter educational standards for students entering medical school, starting a medical journal, pushing for more concrete vital records laws and founding a state licensing board for doctors.

The group, now called the North Carolina Medical Society, has continued to meet annually since 1849, except for a few years during the Civil War and World War II. It now has more than 10,000 members statewide.

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Daniel Kanipe of Marion, Survivor of Custer’s Land Stand

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 01:00

On April 15, 1853, Daniel Kanipe, one of two survivors of Custer’s battalion at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, was born in Marion.

Kanipe enlisted in Company C of the 7th United States Cavalry in 1872 and briefly served with the federal forces occupying Lincolnton during the Reconstruction era.

In 1876, Lt. Col. George A. Custer led the 7th Cavalry into present day Montana, eventually reaching a large Native American encampment along the Little Bighorn River. Underestimating the number of warriors at the camp, Custer decided that a frontal assault was the best strategy. He chose to ride directly towards the Native position with his own battalion, leaving Captain Frederick Benteen’s battalion in reserve.

Kanipe and John Martin, both part of Custer’s battalion, were sent to relay messages to the train of pack mules supplying the unit and to Benteen. With the destruction of Custer’s column imminent, Benteen held his battalion back and refused to allow the couriers to return to battle.

Kanipe was often called upon to relate his experience at Little Bighorn. He became a celebrity among admirers of the “Old West” and researchers of “Custer’s Last Stand.” His recollections became the basis for many of the 20th century accounts of the battle.

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.

SNCC’s Raleigh Roots

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 01:00

On April 15, 1960, about 150 student leaders from 10 states met at Shaw University in Raleigh for the “Southwide Leadership Conference on Nonviolent Resistance to Segregation.” The meeting took place just two months after the Woolworth sit-ins in Greensboro had launched the protest effort.

The session was designed to consolidate isolated sit-in efforts and map strategy. It was organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference whose executive director, Ella Baker, was a Shaw graduate. The conference created the “Temporary Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee” headquartered in Atlanta.

The weekend’s keynote speaker, the Reverend James Lawson of Nashville, criticized established older groups such as the NAACP for moving too slowly and acting too conservatively. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to a large group in Memorial Auditorium, urging students to adopt the nonviolent philosophy of Ghandi and face jail time for peaceful protest if necessary.

SNCC members were the “shock troops” and frontline leaders in the civil rights movement, especially in Mississippi in the summer of 1964. John Hope Franklin called them “probably the most courageous and the most selfless” of the civil rights workers.

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Enigma Machine Plucked from Its Watery Grave

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 01:00

On April 14, 1942, the destroyer USS Roper sank the German submarine U-85 off the Outer Banks between Wimble Shoals and Cape Hatteras.

By January 1942 as many as 19 German U-boats patrolled the Atlantic coastline on any given day, with two or three hiding at Diamond Shoals at any given time to attack ships as they rounded Cape Hatteras. At the height of what is now called the Battle of Torpedo Junction, the Germans were sinking a ship nearly every day; between freighters, tankers and passenger ships the losses were tremendous.

At the same time, the American military was learning how to detect and defeat the U-boats. The first hit was on U-85. Navy divers surveyed the area near the wreck and attempted to salvage the ship, but efforts were not successful. Since men were needed elsewhere, the submarine was left to the elements.

The wreck was explored by recreational divers for many years. In July 2001, divers salvaged the submarine’s Enigma machine. The Germans used the complex coding device for secret communications, especially for divulging locations of enemy vessels and supply convoys.

Although it is still being conserved, the stable parts of the machine are on display at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras.

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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.

Fort Macon, Contested Ground during the Civil War

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 01:00

On April 14, 1861, a militia company from Beaufort, acting on its own, boated over to Fort Macon, near Atlantic Beach, and seized the fort in the name of the state from a lone Union army caretaker.

Only two days after the firing on Fort Sumter, North Carolina had not yet left the Union to join the Confederate States of America. By the time North Carolina did secede on May 20, Fort Macon was securely in state hands with hundreds of Confederate soldiers making it ready for war. Over the next year, the fort was armed with 54 heavy cannons.

However, the Confederacy did not manage to hold the fort for long. In April 1862, after an extended siege led by Union Brig. Gen. John G. Parke, Fort Macon’s Col. Moses J. White surrendered the garrison to Union forces. The fall of Fort Macon closed the port of Beaufort to the Confederacy. The seizure was part of the Burnside campaign which saw much of coastal North Carolina fall into Union hands.

Today, Fort Macon is one of 35 state parks.

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Hysteria Over Day Care in Edenton

This Day in North Carolina History - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 01:00

On April 14, 1989, the first arrests were made in Edenton in what would become known as the Little Rascals Day Care case. The case came amidst a nationwide flurry of prosecutions of daycare workers for alleged “satanic ritual abuse” of children.

Twenty-nine students at the Little Rascals center accused 20 adults, including Edenton’s mayor and the sheriff of Chowan County, with 429 instances of sexual and physical abuse over a three-year period.  The children’s’ descriptions of the incidents were mind-bending. Some described incidents as involving space ships, hot air balloons, pirate ships and trained sharks.

As in other similar cases from across the country, the children’s stories were concocted through sessions with investigators and therapists, many of whom used leading and suggestive questioning techniques. Prosecutors did not produce evidence or eyewitnesses. Today social scientists consider the scandal a “moral panic,” and it has been compared to a witch hunt.

In the most notorious of the Little Rascals trials, the defendant was convicted of 99 indictments and sentenced to 12 consecutive life terms in prison. The court of appeals overturned the convictions of all seven defendants in 1995. The Little Rascals case is said to have been the state’s longest and costliest criminal trial.

The PBS program Frontline aired a series of programs on the case and still maintains a website with a variety of materials related to it..

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.

Governor Ellis and Building Confederate Sentiment

This Day in North Carolina History - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 01:00

On April 15, 1861, North Carolina governor John Ellis responded to President Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops with the often quoted statement: “You can get no troops from North Carolina.”

Although North Carolina as a state had seemed moderate during the Secession Crisis of 1861, Ellis had worked behind the scenes to align North Carolina with the budding Confederate government. In February 1861, citizens of the Old North State rejected a call for a Constitutional Convention to even consider the secession question.

Southern state after southern state declared for secession in early 1861 following South Carolina’s declaration in December 1860.  President Lincoln inherited a nation at the breaking point, and he ordered the federal fort in Charleston harbor to be resupplied.  South Carolina forces prevented the effort and fired on Fort Sumter.  Lincoln then issued a call for troops to put down the rebellion.

Ellis considered Lincoln’s call to arms an unacceptable power grab, and he immediately ordered state troops to seize the federal forts in North Carolina as well as the federal arsenal at Fayetteville. He called the General Assembly into session two weeks later and rushed through a bill that called for a secession convention and authorized Ellis to send troops to Virginia. North Carolina left the Union just a few weeks later.

Though Ellis’ pithy last sentence is often quoted, the full text of his reply to Lincoln lays out a number of Constitutional justifications for secession that were popular at the outset of the war.

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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.