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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Charles B. Aycock Birthplace

by Lisa Coston Hall, 2006

The Charles B. Aycock Birthplace home and kitchen. Image from NC ECHO.The Charles B. Aycock Birthplace in northern Wayne County stands as a memorial to a man who from 1901 to 1905 earned the moniker "North Carolina's education governor" because of his many contributions to the state's public school system. Aycock was born near the town of Fremont (then called Nahunta) on 1 Nov. 1859, the youngest of ten children of Benjamin and Serena Aycock. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he earned a reputation as a skilled orator, in 1880 and opened a law practice in Goldsboro. He soon became a rising star in the Democratic Party and was elected governor in 1900. His ability to rouse people to support education at the local level and his passionate advocacy of universal access to public, though racially segregated, education for all North Carolina children stimulated the construction of approximately 1,100 schools-one for every day he was in office.

Aycock's birthplace became a North Carolina State Historic Site in 1958. In addition to a mid-nineteenth-century farmstead, including a house, kitchen, and other outbuildings furnished with period pieces, the site includes stables and barns, a one-room schoolhouse (ca. 1893) moved to the site to represent the grassroots educational revival pushed by Aycock, and a visitors center. A number of living history demonstrations are offered throughout the year, as well as educational programs aimed particularly at students studying North Carolina history.

The Charles B. Aycock Birthplace barn before restoration, 1954. Image from the North Carolina Museum of History.References:

Edwin Anderson Alderman, "Charles Brantley Aycock: An Appreciation," NCHR 1 (July 1924).

Richard F. Knapp, ed., North Carolina's State Historic Sites: A Brief History and Status Report (1995).

Additional Resources:

"Aycock Birthplace." N.C. Historic Sites. (accessed November 8, 2012).

"Aycock Birthplace House To Re-open after Devastating Fire" (press release). North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. October 22, 2012. (accessed November 8, 2012).

"Charles B. Aycock Birthplace" Sheltering a heritage: North Carolina's historic buildings. 1969. p.13, 17. (accessed November 8, 2012).

"An Act to Appropriate the Sum of $33,950.00 to the Charles B. Aycock Memorial Commission to be Used for the Acquisition of Land and for the Restoration of the Charles B. Aycock Birthplace." Session laws and resolutions passed by the General Assembly. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Winston Printing Company. 1957. p.1552-1553.

"An Act Appropriating Funds to Establish a Museum Visitor Center at Aycock Birthplace State Historic Site." Session laws and resolutions passed by the General Assembly. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Winston Printing Company. 1961. p.1380-1381.

Image Credits:

"Photo 00160005: Exterior view of the Gov. Charles B. Aycock Birthplace home and kitchen." NC ECHO. 2003-2010.

"Photograph, Accession #: H.1954.34.4." 1954. North Carolina Museum of History.