Jessica Lee Thompson is the Editorial Assistant for NorthCarolinahistory.org and for the Nathaniel Macon Papers, a special project of North Carolina History Project.

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Moore, Aaron McDuffie

Born on September 6, 1863 to free yeoman farmer parents, Aaron McDuffie Moore used educational opportunities to improve his social condition and to better his community.

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Lance Incorporated

What started in 1913 as 500 pounds of unwanted Virginia peanuts has evolved into Lance Inc., with revenues steadily approaching one billion dollars. Phillip L. Lance, a Charlotte-based food distributor, ordered 500 pounds of peanuts directly from a planter with the intent to resale them to one of his customers. When Lance’s customer reneged on the peanut deal, Lance roasted the peanuts at his home and sold them on the streets of Charlotte for a nickel a bag instead of returning them to the planter. The home roasted peanuts quickly became popular among Charlotte residents, and Lance soon started producing peanut butter.

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Headache Powders

During the early twentieth century, many Tar Heels moved to towns and urban areas to find work in mills and on railroads, while local pharmacists also began creating patent medicines. One such medicine, headache relief powders, became popular among mill and railroad workers who referred to them as “production powders.”  Pharmacists often compounded their own headache relief medicine in an easier-made powder form rather than in the more complex pill form.

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Goody's Headache Powder

Like many pharmacists in 1932, Martin “Goody” Goodman compounded his own headache relief powder called “Goody’s” to sell in his local pharmacy.

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Krispy Kreme

Vernon Rudolph and his Krispy Kreme doughnuts are excellent examples of the entrepreneurial spirit that flourished in North Carolina despite the Great Depression.

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Federal Paper Board Company

Some historians have criticized the paper and pulp companies of southeastern North Carolina for threatening the local environment.  Environmentalists have been especially concerned with the effect of the paper and pulp industry in the area known as the Green Swamp located east of Columbus in Brunswick County.  However, some paper and pulp companies have been actively involved in preserving the environment that they have used for profit.

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Merrick, John

As the first president of the largest African American insurance company in the United States, John Merrick created more than personal wealth and economic opportunities for other blacks in Durham. He worked to bring better healthcare and educational opportunities to his community.