2019 Asheville Friday Teachers Retreat

North Carolina history and culture present a chorus of diverse and distinctive people and events. One could argue that Asheville, NC, is one of the loveliest places in the state to do a deep dive into a study of the Tar Heel State.

That’s exactly what thirty 4th-12th grade public school teachers did this July 24-26 as they participated in the 2019 William Friday Teachers Retreat, “Carolina Voices” held in honor of Marie Colton. As an NC legislator, 1978-1994, she represented the Asheville area and became the first woman elected to serve as speaker pro tempore in this state. One of her daughters, Dr. Elizabeth Colton, represented her late mother at this retreat in the “Land of the Sky.”

Teachers enjoyed hearing some of North Carolina’s most captivating stories from history as the North Caroliniana Society celebrated these men and women for the incredibly important and valuable work they do across the state.

“It was truly inspiring to participate in the 2019 Carolina Voices Retreat,” commented LeAnn Farrell, a middle school teacher from Forsyth County. This weekend was full of instructive activities “led by highly educated individuals who are dedicated to sharing their experiences and knowledge. It was a weekend rich in diversity, not only in content but in the individuals hired to lead out sessions. I cannot think of a better way to refresh and up life our state’s educators while providing them a wealth of classroom resources and personal adventures, intellectual as well as imaginative. I felt valued as a professional educator, flattered to be chosen to participate in this program that directly relates to the content I teach.”

These teachers also enjoyed a private trolley tour of Asheville, a tour of the Thomas Wolfe State Historic Site, a performance by the Friends of the Cherokee, and a special session with Holocaust survivor Dr. Walter Ziffer. High school teacher Tanya Ledford from Henderson County described her experience this way:

“Unlike with many other workshops, all of the sessions were not just interesting, but useful. Dr. Walter Ziffer is a treasure whose memories are both horrific and important. To get the opportunity to meet him and hear his account was an amazing honor. Those who survived the Holocaust, especially those old enough to truly remember it, are getting older, and we are losing their stories and memories at they pass away. I am an extremely humbled to have had the opportunity to hear Dr. Ziffer and receive an autographed copy of his memoir.”

With the North Caroliniana Society’s goal being to educate as well as celebrate our state’s hard working educators, participants were also treated to a Teacher Appreciation Dinner at Strada Italiano. There teachers got to interact socially with Dr. Colton as well as Society president Dr. Jim Clark and president emeritus Willis P. Whichard.

Larry Efird from Cabarrus County wrote: “My heart was touched, and my teaching soul is now full as a result of this past week. Thank you for ALL you did to encourage us. I needed it.”

Saluting Dannye Romine Powell

In Lexington July 26-27, Society member Dannye Romine Powell of Charlotte was honored during the 2019 North Carolina Writers Conference. Last year she won first place in the Hackney Literary Award’s national poetry contest.

Author of four collections of poetry, including Brockman-Campbell Award winners The Ecstasy of Regret and The Necklace of Bees, she was book review editor of the Charlotte Observer between 1975 and 1992. That year she began to be recognized as one of that newspaper’s leading columnists. In 2013 she returned to the book page.

Praised for her journalism as well as her poetry, in 1994 Danny Romine Powell published Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers. Among her subjects are Fred Chappell, Lee Smith, Doug Marlette, and Reynolds Price.

Herself a widely acclaimed author who celebrates the culture and heritage of this state, Dannye Romine Powell is a director of the North Caroliniana Society and chair of its annual book prize selection committee.

Thank you, Dannye.

Announcing Executive Director Copie Cain

Copie Cain joins the North Caroliniana Society as its first Executive Director July 1, 2019. With a UNC-CH Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration concentrated in accounting, she began her career as a CPA with Ernst & Young. Copie has also worked or volunteered with the North Carolina Community Foundation, Project Enlightenment, St. Timothy’s School, and a local Clinical Laboratory. She and her husband Jim have two children. They enjoy spending time at Lake Gaston with family and friends.

2019 North Caroliniana Society Awards

At the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC-CH campus, three annual awards were presented on May 15 by the North Caroliniana Society.

Students Explore the Triumphs and Tragedies in History

Junior Division Award Winner from the Woodlawn School in Mooresville

This past school year, over 5,000 students from across North Carolina began researching examples of triumphs and tragedies in history as part of National History Day. The North Caroliniana Society donated $15,000 to the North Carolina affiliate program to assist these middle and high school historians in their hands-on discovery of history. After months or research, selecting topics, and creating, students presented their projects as historical performances, websites, documentaries, exhibits or research papers at one of seven regional contests in March. 450 of these students from 70 schools then moved on to the state competition in downtown Raleigh.

After revising their projects using judges’ feedback at the regional contests, students presented their projects for the state judges at the N.C. Museum of History on Saturday, April 27th. The top two finalists were selected from each category to represent North Carolina at the national competition at the University of Maryland-College Park in June. The 64 North Carolina finalists’ names, category, and topic appear in the following list:

  • Henry Rowen, Edward Zhang, Ekansh Bansal – Junior Group Documentary – American Coal Mining 100 Years Ago
  • Katherine Meine, Aurelia Colvin – Junior Group Documentary – The Triumph and Tragedy of the Little Rock Nine
  • Claire Sandusky, Caitlin Borrett – Junior Group Exhibit – Stonewall
  • Catherine Jones, Halle Vazquez – Junior Group Exhibit – The Medgar Evers Case
  • Leyla Belk, Amy Malt, John Paul Torres – Junior Group Performance – The Tragedy of Polio, and the Triumph of Public Accountability
  • Isabella White, Martha Kehrberg, Willow Garrison – Junior Group Performance – Becoming the Notorious RBG
  • Emma Grace Palmer, Courtney Blair – Junior Group Website – The Hindenburg Crash
  • Audrey Hupman, Rocio Rosa – Junior Group Website – Loving v. Virginia
  • Alexandra Dye – Junior Individual Documentary – The Teacher in Space Program
  • Noah Pavao – Junior Individual Documentary – Anna Coleman Ladd
  • Abby Sampson – Junior Individual Exhibit – Apollo 13 Mission
  • Matthew Chapa – Junior Individual Exhibit – The Nazi Turncoat that Won the Space Race
  • Isabella Hardy – Junior Individual Performance – The Triumph and Tragedy of Mary Anning
  • Catherine Boyette – Junior Individual Performance – How the Radium Dial Painters’ Tragedy Illuminated the Gaps in Workers’ Compensation
  • Aisling Casey – Junior Individual Website – Health Horror in Victorian England
  • John Hinchey – Junior Individual Website – Apollo 1
  • Andi Bradsher – Junior Paper Stealth and Secrets: The Culper Spy Ring
  • Farhan Sanukri – Junior Paper – The Trail of Tears
  • Anna Scott, Luke Drago, Mahith Edula, Vinitha Sunkara, Jonathan Baxley – Senior Group Documentary – Obergefell
  • Kamille Smith, Bryce Herring – Senior Group Documentary – Cathy in Combat: On the Front Lines in Vietnam with Nothing but a Camera
  • Rayael Wilson, Rosina Eatmon, Jordan Love, Datavious Worthon, Ian Robinson – Senior Group Exhibit – The Tragic Story of Children in Coal Mines
  • Noemi Fuentes-Rivera, Aniya Bell, Hannah Squier, Donald Luckett – Senior Group Exhibit – Frances Oldham Kelsey’s Fight for Thalidomide Regulation
  • Katy Sue Malt, Katherine Grady, Leah Fibraio – Senior Group Performance – The Treaty of Versailles
  • Anne Jones, Patrick Jones – Senior Group Performance – The Tale of Two Feathers
  • Emily Schmidt, Ruiko Jacobs – Senior Group Website – Dolley Madison
  • Brady Farlow, Lauren Fritzsche – Senior Group Website – Building the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Anna Banas – Senior Individual Documentary – The Velvet Revolution
  • Sabra Dye – Senior Individual Documentary – Klopfer v North Carolina 1967
  • Meghana Chamarty – Senior Individual Exhibit – Frances Perkins
  • Elizabeth Brown – Senior Individual Exhibit – RMS Titanic
  • Clara Hockenberry – Senior Individual Performance – The Lavender Lads
  • Elaijah Lapay – Senior Individual Performance – The Tragedy & Triumph of Chinese Laundrymen in America
  • Andrea Rodriguez – Senior Individual Website – Charlotte Hawkins Brown
  • Lane Nickson – Senior Individual Website – The Bielski Brothers
  • Lacey Ragan – Senior Paper – How the Burning in Boston Sparked Radical Reforms
  • Pranet Sharma – Senior Paper – The Triumph and Tragedy of Alan Turing

In addition to those students advancing to the national competition, 36 projects were awarded special cash prizes for excelling in certain topical categories. The North Caroliniana Society awarded two of these projects with the H.G. Jones N.C. History Award for their outstanding achievements in research of N.C. history. Those selected projects were Slate Freeman for his junior division paper on the Southern Appalachian Moonshiners, and Lauren Fritzsche and Brady Farlow for their senior division website on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

 For 43 years, the National History Day program has recognized and rewarded students for completing in-depth research and creating original projects that further appreciation and understanding of history.

Senior Division Award Winners from Oak Grove High School in Winston-Salem

Announcing New Archie K. Davis Fellowships Policy and the 2019 Davis Fellows

Beginning in 2020, each of the four or five Archie K. Davis Fellowships awarded annually by the North Caroliniana Society shall be in the $4,000-$5,000 range. This change, a fewer number of fellowships and the larger amount of each stipend, reflects the desire of the Society and the Davis Family to make these awards more supportive of outstanding applicants and more in line with similar awards provided by other organizations.

Since 1988 more than 400 young scholars have received Davis Fellowships in the $500-$1200 range. This support has produced numerous articles, monographs, and books about North Carolina. Many of them won coveted awards and contributed to the launching of outstanding academic of independent-scholar careers for their authors.

The final group of Davis Fellows funded on this original scale have been selected for 2019. Their names and topics appear in the following list.

  • Evan Howard Ashford, “Cast Down Your Bucket and Cast Your Ballot”
  • Robert j. Bell, “American Influences in Iran from 1911-1963”
  • Christopher Bonner, “Moses Grandy’s Pursuit of Freedom”
  • Michael K. Brantley, “Otway Burns”
  • Heather R. Brinn, “Black Families in Transition in the Reconstruction South”
  • Georgann Eubanks “The Wild South: Lost and Found”
  • Jonathan A. Gomez, “Black Musical Transformations of the Great Migration”
  • Hannah K. Hicks, “Amazons and Viragos”
  • Lucas P. Kelly, “Bordering the Borderlands”
  • James W. Lester, Jr., “NC Mapmaker C. M. Miller”
  • James MacKay, “Flight and Freedom in Revolutionary America”
  • Elisabeth A. Moore, “Tourism in Western North Carolina Post WW II”
  • Christopher Arris Oakley, “Maritime Indians”
  • Jessica M. Parr, “Evolution of Transatlantic Black Nationalism, 1760-1860”
  • Raja Rahim, “How African American Made US College Basketball, 1937-1970”
  • Paul; Sanchez, “William Louis Poteat and Liberal Religion in the Baptist South”
  • Virginia L. Summey, “NC White Women and White Supremacy in 1898”
  • Lizabeth Wardzinski, “Tennessee Valley Authority and Postwar Development”

In addition to funding these individual scholars, the Society set aside money from the Davis Endowment for the digitization of selected printed material that will aid these men and women in their work.

Georgann Eubanks (Archie K. Davis Fellow for 2019) examines a small stand of river cane (Arundinaria gigantea) at a restoration site along Childer’s Creek in Tennessee. Her book project on endangered plants and ecosystems in six states is entitled The Wild South: Lost and Found. The scarcity of river cane is a particular challenge to North Carolina’s Cherokee artisans who use the plant to weave heritage baskets and mats according to ancient standards and patterns.

William Friday Teachers Retreat: Carolina Voices

“The event was indeed a retreat. I feel one of the biggest strengths was being appreciated and treated as a professional. The sessions were balanced and well-paced. I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of activities and quality of the presenters. The title was Carolina Voices, and I believe we heard many, including our fellow teachers. This was a first-class educational experience.”

This is just one of the dozens of glowing reviews of the William Friday Teachers Retreat: Carolina Voices Exploring the Diverse History & Heritage of the Tar Heel State, held on November 11-13 at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library. A group of 32 fantastic teachers from 21 counties across North Carolina were treated to three days of lectures, scholarly discussion, immersive field trips, and more! Some highlights include a performance of Fire of Freedom: A Portrait of Abraham Galloway, a one-man show, written by Howard Craft, starring actor and writer Mike Wiley , readings from distinguished Professor Bland Simpson, a presentation by Professor Ben Frey about Cherokee life in North Carolina today, a powerful performance – “From Slavery to Civil Rights” from acclaimed Gospel singer Mary D. Williams at the historic Dickerson’s AME Church in Hillsborough, and a special teacher appreciation dinner at Chapel Hill favorite, 411 West. The weather during the Retreat could be described as dismal, but our teachers weren’t fazed as they braved a downpour for a historic tour of Hillsborough, NC with Professor Wayne Lee. Check out the rest of the agenda here.

This wonderful experience was made possible by the generous support of the North Caroliniana Society.

“This was most definitely a relaxing retreat and it reinforced my excitement for teaching. I loved all of the people who shared their experience with us. I especially loved their enthusiasm for their subject matter. When your speaker/teacher is excited about what they do, it is impossible to not feel and want to carry on that same excitement. This experience opened my eyes to the wonders of our state. It made me want to find out more about why we are the way we are, what shaped us into what we are today.”

In memory of Dr. H. G. Jones

Dr. H. G. Jones, archivist, historian, teacher, and author, died October 14, 2018, at The Arbor, Galloway Ridge at Farrington, PIttsboro, North Carolina. In 1975 he founded the North Caroliniana Society and served as its secretary-treasurer until 2010. As one part of his very considerable legacy, the Society is the only organization that encompasses the entire breadth of this state’s cultural heritage.

Archie K. Davis Fellowship Program is Thirty and Thriving

Since the spring of 1988, approximately 400 scholars have been awarded Archie K. Davis Fellowships in a targeted research program sponsored by the North Caroliniana Society. On a competitive basis, the program’s funding has supported hands-on research by young scholars spending time in North Carolina’s historical and cultural collections, both public and private.

This spring of 2018, an additional nineteen Davis Fellows have been funded. These women and men come from this state, across this country, and abroad. Most of them are studying at the graduate level, but one is a rising senior. Several other new fellows are already working in university faculties, and one is on staff at the Smithsonian. As in the past thirty years, their research subjects are quite varied. For example, they range from environmental health of Civil War regiments, conjoined twins, opposition to Manifest Destiny, eugenics, and the Cherokee economy. The 2017-18 recipients are:

  • Richard Berman (Oxford Brookes University): Freemasonry in North Carolina.
  • John Brannon, Jr. (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities): Cherokee Syllabary and Printing.
  • Robert Colby (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill): Slave Trading in the Civil War South.
  • Sara Collini (George Mason University): Enslaved Women and Midwifery.
  • Michael Hardy (independent): Richmond M. Pearson.
  • Nathaniel Holly (College of William & Mary): NC Emancipation Politics.
  • Tina Irvine (Penn State University): Americanizing Appalachia.
  • Stephanie King (University of Kentucky): Confederate Diaspora.
  • Michael Lynch (University of Tennessee at Knoxville): Manliness on the Rev. Frontier.
  • Joshua R. Shriver (Auburn University): Interpersonal Rel. and CW Soldiers.
  • Lewis M. Stern (independent scholar): Tommy Thompson, North Carolina Musician.
  • Rodney J. Steward (USC-Salkehatchie): Southern Rights Party in North Carolina.
  • Larry E. Tise (Eastern Carolina University): Maps of Colonial North Carolina.
  • Brandon K. Winford (University of Tennessee at Knoxville): Southern Regional Council.

Mr. Davis for whom these fellowships are named was a 1932 graduate of the University of North Carolina. He returned to school there after retiring from Wachovia Bank and Trust Company as chairman in 1974. His history master’s degree adviser at Chapel Hill was Dr. H. G. Jones, who founded the North Carolinina Society in 1975, the same year Mr. Davis finished his thesis. Later Dr. Jones recalled that his adult student was a fine writer who had a tendency to “chase rabbits” in his research. Mr. Davis complained that his professor was killing a good story by cutting the manuscript. Eventually this give and take produced a 1,400-page master’s thesis. In 1985 it became a biography destined to be legendary from UNC Press entitled Boy Colonel of the Confederacy: The Life and Times of Henry King Burgwyn, Jr.

In November and December 1987, Mr. Davis was retiring again, this time as chairman of the Research Triangle Foundation Board and as president of the North Caroliniana Society. His successor as president of the Society was UNC President William C. Friday who had raised a quarter of a million dollars to establish an Archie K. Davis Endowment Fund. Its annual earnings only would be available for Davis Fellowships. That first year, 1988, the new program funded five scholars, their fellowships ranging in value from $750.00 to $2,000.00.

Each fellowship, today as then, serves the special purpose of funding an individual scholar’s access to documentary materials wherever they are preserved. The resulting scholarship has produced numerous professional papers, hundreds of articles, and scores of books. In 2010, for example, the May issue of the Journal of Southern History published reviews of six of the fourteen books recently published by Davis Fellows. At the Southern Historical Association that year, fourteen former Fellows presented papers. Moreover, through 2010 the amount of money spent directly on Davis Fellowships equaled the total amount of the original quarter of a million-dollar seed money donated to the program by the Research Triangle Foundation.

Since 2010 the Archie K. Davis Fellowship Fund has continued its distinguished record of both portfolio management and distinguished scholarship about North Carolina’s cultural expression. Davis Fellows Glenda Gilmore (1991), Patrick Huber (1998), Karl E. Campbell (2002), Mark K. Bradley (2003), Elizabeth Gillespie McRae (2004), J. Vincent Lowery (2013), Warren E. Milteer, Jr. (2014 and 2016), and Thomas L. Howard, III ( 2017), have claimed the coveted Robert D. W. Connor annual prize for the best article in the North Carolina Historical Review. Two of these same Davis Fellows, Drs. Campbell and Bradley, have also won the North Caroliniana Book Award, inaugurated in 2003. Without regard to genre, this prize goes to men and women whose books are judged to have the best chance of becoming classics works of North Caroliniana. Other Davis Fellows who have won this annual award are Catherine W. Bishir, Anna R. Hayes, David Silkenat (twice), Sarah C. Tueusen, and Larry Tise.

As Archie K. Davis Fellowships embrace the next era of scholarship about North Carolina history and culture, the North Caroliniana Society is poised to support this established research program through funding, administrative services, and communication links with applicants and grantees. Especially Research and Instructional Services headed by Jason Tomberlin in Wilson Library at UNC-CH is in the vanguard of this collaboration that includes, among many other records centers, the North Carolina Collection and the Southern Historical Collection at Chapel Hill and the NC Division of Archives and History in Raleigh. Almost every year several Davis Fellows include foreign travel in their plans.