About the North Carolina History Project

DURING THE PAST FEW DECADES, academic scholars have minimized the importance of individuals and ideas in history. They have emphasized the role of abstract social and economic forces and have presumed that government must perform an increasing array of societal functions.

This scholarship has led to misunderstanding of many parts of North Carolina’s history. These include how personal wealth is created, the benefits of private property, and the positive influence of religious and free market ideas, to name some examples.

As a result, a vast resource of good ideas and exemplary personalities are forgotten, and possible solutions to current societal problems are overlooked.

The tower of Loray Mill, Gastonia. A 1939 strike affected workers throughout the South. Image is in the public domain.

With the North Carolina History Project, the John Locke Foundation seeks to restore knowledge of such cultural losses and fill a void in historical scholarship. The History Project not only encourages a wide variety of historical questions and the free exchange of ideas, but also presents overlooked or forgotten historical themes. Such themes include entrepreneurship, problem-solving by the private sector, the importance of individuals and ideas, and the positive role of free markets.

By providing free resources, the North Carolina History Project seeks to involve individuals and communities in the study of history. A key part of the History Project is a free, evolving, comprehensive, and non-polemical encyclopedia of Tar Heel state history. You have reached the site of this encyclopedia, northcarolinahistory.org.

This site also contains three other information sources. It has a separate commentary section, where historians can offer historical interpretations and engage in historical debate. It has an educator’s corner that provides teachers and parents with useful and entertaining lesson plans.

But that is not all. North Carolinians can also read the History Project’s articles in the Carolina Journal, the North State Journal, and other publications. The History Project was founded by Dr. Troy Kickler.

The Biltmore Estate is one of many tourist destinations in Buncombe County. Image by Warren LeMay and licensed under Creative Commons.

Editorial Advisory Board

The following historians and specialists offer their expertise to help make NorthCarolinahistory.org an authoritative source of North Carolina history.

Jeff Broadwater, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of History

Barton College

His books include Eisenhower and the Anti-Communist CrusadeAdlai Stevenson and American Politics: The Odyssey of a Cold War Liberal, and George Mason, Forgotten Founder (UNC Press, 2006). Before teaching at Barton College, Dr. Broadwater was Director of the John C. Stennis Oral History Project at Mississippi State University.

Richard Gamble, Ph.D.

Margaret Ross Alexander Professor of History

Hillsdale College

Professor Gamble is author of The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War, and the Rise of the Messianic Nation (ISI Books, 2003). His essays and reviews have appeared in The Journal of Southern HistoryThe Intercollegiate ReviewChroniclesThe Freeman (now Ideas on Liberty), The Independent Review, and Humanitas, for which he also serves on the editorial board.

Larry Odzak, Ph.D.

CEO and Chief Editor, Monograph Publishers

Dr. Odzak retired from the North Carolina State Archives in 2012. Previously he taught at various post-secondary institutions, including the University of North Florida. His publications include “Demetrios Is Now Jimmy”: Greek Immigrants in the Southern United States, 1895-1965 (Monograph Publishers, 2006).

About The Founder

Dr. Troy L. Kickler

founded the North Carolina History Project and Editor of NorthCarolinaHistory.org.

He holds an M.S. in social studies education from North Carolina A&T State University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Tennessee. He has taught at the University of Tennessee, Barton College, and North Carolina State University, and Liberty University. In 2023 he was appointed to the prestigious American Semiquintennial Committee created by the North Carolina General Assembly to observe the 250th anniversary of the nation’s birth.

Kickler is author of The King’s Trouble Makers: Edenton’s Role in Creating a Nation and State. He is also co-editor, with Dr. Jeff Broadwater, of North Carolina’s Revolutionary Founders. He is also editor of an upcoming research volume Nathaniel Macon: Selected Congressional Speeches and Correspondence.

Some of Kickler’s publications include “Caught in the Crossfire: African American Children and the Ideological Battle for Education in Reconstruction Tennessee,” in Children and Youth During the Civil War Era, James Marten, ed. (New York University Press, 2012,) and “Why The Constitution is Essential,” as part of State Policy Network’s We The People series. He is currently working on a study of Andrew Jackson’s leadership style.

He has been invited to write and has written various forwards and introductions to scholarly works. Such publications include Riot and Resistance in County Norfolk, 1646-1650, The Impact of the English Colonization of Ireland in the Sixteenth Century, and The Federalist Papers: A Reader’s Guide.

He has written articles and reviews for such publications as American Diplomacy, Chronicles, Constituting America, Imaginative Conservative, Independent Review, Journal of Mississippi History, Modern Age, Tennessee Baptist History, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, and The Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians.

Kickler has presented at numerous academic conferences and venues including the American Political Science Association and the First Principles Program of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. In addition, he has presented dozens of lectures to civic groups across North Carolina exploring, respectively, the history of North Carolina and the United States and the North Carolina Constitution and United States Constitution.

His commentaries have appeared in major North Carolina newspaper outlets, and he has been interviewed for several North Carolina talk-radio stations and news programs. He also has blogged for History News Network. Directing several educational programs, Kickler was co-creator of the popular A Citizen’s Constitutional Workshop. He also directed the John Locke Foundation’s State of Our Constitution symposia series, a program created to foster state constitutional literacy.

Kickler serves on various boards, including the Scholarly Advisory Board of The Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection, a collaborative project of Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University, and the College Level Advisory Board of Constituting America, an online essay series exploring the U.S. Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the Founding Era.