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Sacred Heart Cathedral

Sacred Heart Cathedral is the Mother Church for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, making it the spiritual center for Catholics in eastern North Carolina. It is the smallest cathedral in the continental United States. Sacred Heart’s parochial school was desegregated in 1953, a year before the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

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Said, Omar Ibn (1770-1864)

Since 1995 when his autobiography, the only American slave narrative known to exist in Arabic, was found, Said has gained national attention.  Many scholars contend Said was a devout Muslim until his death.  Said, however, made a Christian profession of faith and joined the Presbyterian Church.

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Saint Augustine's College (Raleigh)

Located in Raleigh, Saint Augustine’s College was founded by the Episcopal Church in 1867.   Saint Augustine’s Normal School and Collegiate Institute was its original name.  Like many institutions of higher learning established during the late 1860s and early 1870s, St. Augustine’s was created to educate freedmen.  Although the Freedmen’s Bureau assisted the formation of historically black college, they, including St. Augustine’s Normal School, depended heavily on denominational and individual charity.  Schools were affiliated with a denomination from which came much financial support.

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Salem Brass Band

Formed out of Moravian musical societies and community bands that exemplified the traditional importance of brass instruments, particularly the trombone, the Salem Brass Band served the Confederacy from the first days of the Civil War until June 1865, when members were finally released from prison.  More than its fundraising concerts or its members’ service as medics, the band’s assignment to the 26th North Carolina Infantry, the regiment that suffered the most casualties of any unit at the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), may be its claim to fame.

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Salem, Richard J. (1947- )

A leading lawyer in the United States, Richard J. Salem employed character, intellect, and integrity in the service to community.  Although blind, Salem quickly started practicing law, and in 1981 established the Salem Law Group concentrating on structuring business and financial transactions in North America and Europe.

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Salisbury Prison

Operating from July 1861 until February 1865, the Confederate Prison at Salisbury held nearly 10,000 Union soldiers during the Civil War. The prison was the only one of its kind in North Carolina, and overcrowding and poor prison conditions led to the deaths of many Union prisoners of war. Today, the Salisbury National Cemetery honors those who died at the prison garrison.

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Salvation Army in North Carolina

Part church, part charity, the Salvation Army is best known for ringing bells for the needy on street corners. But the Army does far more than collect coins during the Christmas season. It is one of America’s largest charitable organizations and has helped millions, including many thousands of North Carolinians.

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Sampson County

Established in 1784, Sampson County was named after John Sampson, an early political figure who served in neighboring Duplin County. Scotch-Irish immigrants were the first Europeans to settle the region in the 1740s and 1750s. The annual Hollerin’ Contest at Spivey’s Corner celebrates the lost art of hollering.

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San Juan, Fort

During Juan Pardo’s first expedition (1566-67), the Spanish constructed Fort San Juan near present-day Morganton, North Carolina.  Although the Spaniards abandoned the fort after eighteen months, its presence marked a pivotal moment not only in North Carolina history but in United States history.

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Sandy Creek Baptists

Sandy Creek Baptists played a key role in the Regulator Movements in North Carolina (1766-1771) and in the tremendous growth of the Baptist denomination in the South.  Their free-will Baptist theology influenced the changing views regarding the common man in America during the late eighteenth century.

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Sandy Creek, Battle at the Mouth of

Though the American army under Baron DeKalb camped for weeks at Buffalo Ford in the summer of 1780 on its way to Camden, and Lord Cornwallis in 1781 spent several days after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse at Bell’s Mill on Deep River, by and large the official history of the Revolutionary War bypassed Randolph County. But far more active and far more destructive was the guerrilla war which took place in the county between neighbors of opposite political persuasions.

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Sanford, Terry (1917 -1998)

At the onset of the 1960s, Terry Sanford was elected the 65th governor of North Carolina. A lifelong Democrat, Sanford championed improving the state’s educational system at all levels, embodied the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, strove to fight poverty, and desired to expand the Research Triangle Park. Despite serving only one term, Sanford’s programs transformed Southern politics, specifically in education and race relations, and contributed to his legacy as a political hero in the New South.  

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Saponi Indians

The Saponi Indian tribe is an eastern Siouan language tribe with ancestral land located in Virginia and North Carolina. The Occaneechi Band of the Saponi and the Haliwa Saponi are recognized by the state of North Carolina. The Saponi traveled in small tight knight communities and were avid corn farmers and hunters.

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Sawyer, Samuel T. (1800 - 1865)

A lawyer, newspaper editor, state legislator, and U.S. Congressman, Samuel T. Sawyer is most known for being Harriet Jacobs’ lover.  He befriended and had a consensual relationship with the slave author of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.  Together they had two children.

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Scales, Alfred M. (1827-1889)

Alfred Moore Scales was born on November 26, 1827 in Rockingham County on his family’s plantation, Ingleside. Caldwell first studied at the Caldwell Institute in Greensboro before transferring to the University of North Carolina in 1845. Scales studied law under the tutelage of Judge William Battle and passed the bar exam in 1852.

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Scotland County (1899)

As its name suggests, Scotland County is a region steeped in Scottish heritage and history. Although the early Cheraw Indian tribes were the first in the area, the Highland Scots, along with English and Quaker settlers, colonized the region as early as the 1720s.

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Scott

William Kerr Scott, from Alamance County was the governor of North Carolina from 1949-1953. As the first farmer-governor of the Tar Heel State since 1892, Scott spearheaded agriculture issues and emphasized building roads and expanding electricity into rural North Carolina. 

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Scruggs, Earl

Considered “The Father of Bluegrass Music,” Earl Scruggs was born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina – Cleveland County, to be exact. Mastering the banjo at an early age, Scruggs later joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys and earned wide acclaim for his “Scruggs-Style Picking.” After his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Scruggs retired with his wife to Madison, Tennessee.

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Seal, The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina

North Carolina developed four different state seals during the colonial period and there have been six state seals since North Carolina declared its independence. While the Great Seal changed many times throughout North Carolina history, some variations on symbols have remained and appear on the current Great Seal.

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Secession

Secession of the state of North Carolina from the American Union occurred on May 20, 1861; this date was chosen to celebrate the anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence of 1775.

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Secret Basketball Game of 1944

During the Jim Crow era, African American college teams were barred from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). But a brave few found ways around these restrictions. A secret game held in 1944 between a white team from Duke and a black team from NCCU was one of the first integrated sports events in the South.

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Sevier, John (1745-1815)

John Sevier arrived in western North Carolina during the troubled years just prior to the American Revolution. His leadership was crucial during the Cherokee offensive of 1776 and four years later at the Battle of King’s Mountain. Sevier went on to play central roles in three separate governments west of the Appalachians. His relations with the Cherokee were marked by military success but also marred by controversy. Even so, his leadership on the frontier was unquestioned and was an essential factor in the transition from North Carolina wilderness to Tennessee statehood.

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Seymour Johnson, Air Force, Base

Founded in 1941, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was named in honor of Lt. Seymour Johnson. During WWII, the base served as a important training center for bomber pilots, but the camp was closed after the war. Seymour Johnson was reopened in 1956 due to the work of local political leaders, and it has since remained home to the Fourth Tactical Fighter Wing.

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Sharp, Susie (1907-1996)

Judge Susie Sharp was an old school Southern Democrat.  She publicly opposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) of the early 1970s and even attempted to persuade legislators to vote in the negative.  Some have credited her, along with her friend Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (1896-1984), for playing a big part in defeating the ERA in North Carolina.

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Shaw University

From its beginning in 1865, Shaw University has been a forerunner in starting educational programs among historically black colleges, and in 1960, it served as the birthplace of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the Civil Rights Movement.

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Shelton Laurel Massacre

Not the only incident in the turbulent wartime mountains, the Shelton Laurel Massacre of Madison County proved, writes historians John Inscoe and Gordon McKinney, that “guerrilla warfare blurred the lines between combatants and noncombatants and obscured the rules of war.”  It also revealed that Confederate sympathizers were as willing as Union sympathizers to be bushwhackers and redefine mountain warfare.

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Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891)

William Tecumseh Sherman was a Union General during the American Civil War. He led the Atlanta Campaign, and his “March to the Sea” was extremely popular in the North and dealt a severe blow to the South. Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign seized control of South Carolina and North Carolina and led to the official surrender of the Southern Confederate Army at Bennett’s Place. Sherman’s force left a path of devastation where it went and burned down prominent cities like Atlanta, Georgia, and Columbia, South Carolina. After the war, Sherman became the commanding general of the United States Army and was the military leader during the Indian Wars.

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Silver, Frankie; murder; folklore; Burke County

On July 12, 1833, Frankie Silver was hanged for the murder of her husband. Nearly 10,000 people traveled to Burke County to witness her execution. She was the first woman executed in North Carolina by hanging. Numerous ballads, articles, and documentaries have added to Silver’s myth and legend.

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Simkins, Cone, 1963, Supreme Court

In Simkins v. Cone (1963), the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that two Greensboro hospitals had discriminated against African American doctors and patients. Before the case, most North Carolina hospitals were segregated, and those designated solely for black patients offered only sub-optimal healthcare. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and Simkins became the first time a federal court applied the Fourteenth Amendment to private racial discrimination.

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Simmons, Furnifold McLendel (1854-1940)

A Democratic Congressman and U.S. Senator, Furnifold M. Simmons was born on January 20, 1854 to Furnifold Green, Jr., and Mary McLendel Jerman Simmons of Jones County, North Carolina.  A leader in the "white supremacy" movement during the late 1890s, Simmons played an instrumental role in the disfranchisement of African Americans in North Carolina and served thirty years in the U.S. Senate, where his most notable achievements were obtaining funds for the Intercoastal Waterway and ensuring lower tariff rates and the passage of the Underwood-Simmons Tariff. 

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Sitton, Claude (1925-)

Claude Sitton (1925-) is a journalist famous for covering the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 60s. Sitton served for six years as the New York Times’ chief Southern correspondent and reported on the desegregation of schools, the assassination of Medgar Evers, and the 1964 Freedom Summer—to name only three events. His dedication led the editors of Newsweek to praise him in 1964 as “the best daily newspaperman on the Southern scene.”

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Skimmington

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a common custom was a skimmington.  Traditionally, it served as a reminder for spouses to perform certain societal roles and behave within prescribed social boundaries and thereby secure social order.  It was also incorporated into colonial political protests.

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Sloop, Mary T. Martin (1873 - 1962)

Mary T. Martin Sloop was a physician and educator from Davidson, North Carolina.  She played an instrumental role in educational efforts and reform in western North Carolina.  In particular, she established the Crossnore School for mountain children.

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Smith, Arthur "Guitar Boogie" (1921-)

Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith (1921-), son of a poor mill worker, rose to become one of country music’s brightest stars. His singles, including “Guitar Boogie” and “Feuding Banjos,” sold millions of copies, and millions more people tuned in to his radio and television programs.

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Smith, Ashley W. (1850?-1928)

Ashley W. Smith’s greatest accomplishment may have been providing an example of what a black property owner could achieve in a small town during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

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Smith, Benjamin (1756-1826)

Born into wealth, Benjamin Smith died in poverty.  From 1810 to 1811, Smith served as governor of North Carolina.  Although a Democratic-Republican, he never abandoned his former Federalist inclinations.

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Smith, Willis; Democrat; Graham, Frank P.; Senator

Born in Virginia in 1887, Willis Smith studied law at Trinity College, and he served as a inheritance tax lawyer from 1915 until 1920.  After serving in the state legislature, Smith ran for the U.S. Senate in 1950 after the death of Senator J. Melville Broughton.  Smith defeated Frank P. Graham in the Democrat Party runoff, and he thereafter served in the Senate until his death in 1953.

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Somerset Place

Somerset Place is a representative state historic site offering a comprehensive and realistic view of 19th-century life on a large North Carolina plantation. Originally, this atypical plantation included more than 100,000 densely wooded, mainly swampy acres bordering the five-by-eight mile Lake Phelps, in present-day Washington County. During its 80 years as an active plantation (1785-1865), hundreds of acres were converted into high yielding fields of rice, corn, oats, wheat, beans, peas, and flax; sophisticated sawmills turned out thousands of feet of lumber. By 1865, Somerset Place was one of the upper South’s largest plantations.

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Somerset Place Plantation

Somerset Place is plantation located on the land around Lake Phelps in present-day Washington County, North Carolina. Originally part of the Lake Company’s holdings that spanned over 100,000 acres in Washington and Tyrrell Counties, the area became Somerset Place in 1816 when Josiah Collins, Sr. became sole owner of the Lake Company.  Under Collins’s grandson, Josiah Collins III, Somerset Place became one of the largest plantations in the South.  Today it is a North Carolina State Historic Site.

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Sons of Liberty

After the Connecticut Sons of Liberty denounced the Stamp Act and pledged to fight, if necessary, the Sons of Liberty followed suit across the colonies.  In Wilmington, North Carolina, Sons of Liberty members pledged to resist the tax “with [their] lives and fortunes.”

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Soul City

Soul City was a failed attempt to build a majority black community in the heart of rural North Carolina. Conceived by civil rights leader Floyd B. McKissick, Soul City began with high expectations but ended in disappointment.

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Sowell, Thomas (1930- )

As an advocate of the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” philosophy, which urges people to depend on themselves instead of government initiatives, Sowell believes that affirmative action actually hurts African Americans’ chances for equality.

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Spaight, Jr., Richard Dobbs (1796-1850)

A lawyer and the last governor elected by the General Assembly, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr., served as the chief executive of North Carolina for one term (1835-1836).  Before then he had served as a state legislator and U.S. Congressman, and afterward he practiced law in New Bern.  Many of his cases were pro bono.

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Spaight, Sr., Richard Dobbs (1758-1802)

A New Bern native and father of North Carolina Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight, Jr., Spaight was a leading Federalist delegate to the Constitutional Convention and governor of North Carolina from 1792 to 1795.  He later allied with Jeffersonian Republicanism after disagreeing with Federalist support for the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798).

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Spanish - American War

During the Spanish-American War (1898), North Carolina provided three infantry regiments named simply the First, Second, and Third Volunteer Infantry Regiment(s). All of these were state militia regiments. The First was the only one to see action in Cuba; the Second disbanded after a short-lived yet infamous term of service in the States, and the Third, an African American regiment, experienced continuous discrimination whether it was stationed in eastern North Carolina or Knoxville, Tennessee. Only two North Carolinians, Worth Bagley and William E. Shipp, died in action.

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Spaulding Charles Clinton

Charles Clinton Spaulding led the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company from 1900 to 1952, a span during which North Carolina Mutual was the largest business owned by African-Americans. Known during his life as "Mr. Negro Business," Spaulding’s success at North Carolina Mutual made Durham known as "the Black Wall Street."

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Spaulding, Asa (1902-1990)

Asa T. Spaulding’s educational background and achievements are significant.  In 1930, Spaulding earned a B.S. in Accounting (magna cum laude) from New York University, and in 1932 an M.A. in Mathematics and Actuarial Science from the University of Michigan.  But he also learned and achieved outside of the classroom.  For his professional accomplishments, educational institutions bestowed honorary degrees; in 1958 Spaulding received his first from Shaw University, and then from North Carolina College at Durham (1960), Morgan State College (1961), University of North Carolina (1967), and Duke University (1969).

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Spencer Samuel

Born in Virginia in 1738, Samuel Spencer played important roles in several chapters of the history of North Carolina. He served as the de facto executive of North Carolina after the American Revolution broke out. Shortly thereafter, he was elected a superior court judge in North Carolina, remaining on the bench until his death. He is, however, best known as the leader of the antifederalist faction at the Hillsborough Convention of 1788.  

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Spencer, Cornelia Phillips (1825 - 1908)

Cornelia Phillips Spencer was not only a North Carolina poet, historian, and journalist but also a leader in the reopening of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after it survived five, dormant years during Reconstruction.

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St. Augustine's College

Saint Augustine’s College, founded in 1867, was formed due to the need for African American teachers. Earning four-year college status in 1928, Saint Augustine’s College was the first African American college to host radio and television programs. Today, nearly 1,500 students attend the college in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Stamp Act

Enacted in 1765, the Stamp Act increased British control over the American colonial economy and further angered American colonists by confirming that salutary neglect had ended.

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Stamp Tax Protests (Wilmington)

After the English Parliament passed the Stamp Act in 1765, many North Carolinians refused to pay the tax—even after Governor William Tryon promised special privileges to fifty leading North Carolinian merchants and planters.

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Stanback (headache powder)

Similar to the stories concerning the creation of other headache powders, the story of Stanback headache powder began in a pharmacy.   Druggist Thomas M. (Dr. Tom) Stanback created a headache relief compound at his Thomasville pharmacy.

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Stanley, Kathryn T. (1903-1985)

  Despite never having been ordained, Kathryn T. Stanley still contributed significantly to the High Point community and the Congregational Christian Church denomination.   As her church’s "Director of Activities," Stanley was in every practical sense the de facto pastor of Washington Terrace Congregational Church.  

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Stanly County (1841)

Stanly County, named for the notable North Carolina politician John Stanly, was established from Montgomery in 1841. Morrow Mountain, the Uwharrie Mountains, and the Yadkin-Pee Dee River are impressive physical characteristics within Stanly County.

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State Dance: Clogging and Shagging

While several states have an official dance, North Carolina is among the few with two official state dances. In 2005, the General Assembly passed a bill making clogging the official folk dance of North Carolina and shagging as the official popular dance of North Carolina. Both dances were chosen for the entertainment value that they bring to “participants and spectators in the State.”

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State Flag

Although not the state’s first flag, the current North Carolina state flag has been left largely unchanged over the past 125 years. The flag includes two important dates: May 20, 1775 and April 12, 1776.  The first is the date The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was signed, and the second is when the Halifax Resolves were passed.

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State Fruit, Scuppernong Grape

The first actively cultivated grape in the United States, the Scuppernong grape was named the official State Fruit by the General Assembly in 2001. The scuppernong grape was named after the Scuppernong River that runs through Tyrell and Washington counties. In 2007, The North Carolina Governor’s office reported that North Carolina ranked tenth nationally in grape and wine production, an industry worth $813 million dollars a year in North Carolina

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State Literary and Historical Association

Formed in 1900, SLHA members work to stimulate literary and historical activity in North Carolina.  The mission is accomplished by not only hosting an annual address that has featured national luminaries such as Charles Kuralt, William Howard Taft, and Henry Cabot Lodge but also by outreach efforts to children and adults. 

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State v. Mann

The 1829 decision of the North Carolina Supreme Court in State v. Mann declared that chattel slaves have virtually no legal rights from their masters. Thomas Ruffin authored the opinion of the court, in which he asserts the "full dominion of the owner over the slave." 

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State v. Negro Will; State v. Manuel; Whig; North Carolina Supreme Court; William Gaston

During the Whig Era of North Carolina politics in the 1830s, several groups, politicians, and citizens promoted anti-slavery sentiment. One such politician was North Carolina Supreme Court Justice William J. Gaston who wrote two opinions that favored both slaves and black freedmen in the 1830s. The two cases, State v. Will (1834) and State v. Manuel (1838), became hallmarks of the antebellum anti-slavery movement.

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Stearns, Shubal (1706-1771)

In 1755, Shubal Stearns settled in the Piedmont of North Carolina, between present-day Liberty and Asheboro in Randolph County, and established Sandy Creek Baptist Church.  Stearns’s authoritative preaching helped convert many in the Piedmont to his Separate Baptist beliefs.  After a split among churches within the Sandy Creek Association of Separate Baptists and the defeat of the Regulation movement, Separate Baptists left for Appalachia.  Stearns, however, remained and died in Randolph County.  But his influence was and is more widespread than many know.  

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Stokes County

With Danbury as its county seat, Stokes County lies in the north Piedmont and adjacent to the Virginia border.  The county was named after a Revolutionary Patriot, Captain John Stokes.  

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Stokes, Montfort (1762 - 1842)

A former U.S. Senator who became governor of North Carolina, Montfort Stokes was born in 1762 in Virginia.  During his political career, he befriended Andrew Jackson and supported the seventh President’s politics, including denouncing nullification as detrimental to the Union.  As a state legislator and governor, Stokes worked harder than most previous governors to further the interests of western North Carolina (Piedmont and the mountains). 

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Stone, David (1770-1818)

A Bertie County native, a College of New Jersey (Princeton University) graduate, and part of the Marache Club, David Stone served not only as Governor of North Carolina (1808-1810) but also as a state legislator in the House of Commons (1790-1795, 1810-1811), as a U.S. Representative (1799-1801), and as a U.S. Senator (1801-1807, 1812-1814).   As governor he worked to protect personal property rights and promoted education in the Jeffersonian spirit.  As a US Senator, he was censured by the General Assembly for opposing war efforts.   

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Stoneman's Raid

Stoneman’s Raid has been described as the final blow to the Confederacy during the Civil War. From March until April 1865, Major General George Stoneman led a Union army into North Carolina and Virginia with the order to destroy Confederate structures and railways. The raid caused utter destruction in western North Carolina, and the task of rebuilding the many buildings and railroads proved to be a struggle through Reconstruction.

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Store, Roses

One of the first discount store chains in the Southeastern United States, Roses was first opened in Henderson in 1915.  Founder Paul H. Rose led the company to expansive growth.  By the 1980s, there were approximately 250 in 11 different southern states. In the 1990s, competition with large chains such as Wal-Mart and K-Mart prevented Roses from increasing in size, and Variety Wholesaler’s, Inc., (another N.C. based company) bought the company in 1997.

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Student Nonviolent Coorinating Committee (SNCC)

Started by Ella Baker, a Shaw University alumna, SNCC used a more decentralized and local strategy than other civil rights organizations and provided leadership examples for other 1960s protest groups.  After SNCC’s formation at the Raleigh institutution, sit-ins became more frequent.  As the decade continued, SNCC leadership started emphasizing Black Power, contradicting conservative, ministerial leadership in other organizations, and thereby revealing discontent and disagreement within the Civil Rights Movement.

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Surry County (1771)

Annexed from Rowan County in 1771, Surry has been an important county to the state of North Carolina, with particular regard to granite production and the historic Andy Griffith Show. The Saura were the original Native Americans to reside in present-day Surry, and the Great Wagon Road opened colonial settlement to the region in the early to mid-eighteenth century. One of North Carolina’s most distinct mountain peaks, Pilot Mountain, is located in Surry County.

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Swain

The twenty-sixth governor of North Carolina from 1832-1835, David Lowry Swain was born in Buncombe County and later went on to be the third President of the University of North Carolina.

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Swain County

Home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Qualla Boundary, Swain County was formed in 1871 and rests in the mountains of North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokee call the county their home, and the tribe’s cultural and historical influence is significant in Swain County. Tourism and the gaming industry (Harrah’s Casino) is the primary industry of the region.

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Swann v. Charlotte

Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 20, 1971, Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education dealt with the desegregation plan adopted by Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Chief Justice Warren Burger rendered the opinion of the court, and its decision was unanimous. The product of several years of NAACP litigation, the Swann decision lent the imprimatur of the Court to busing as a solution to inadequately desegregated public schools.