Commentary

Commentary
Agriculture

Hog Farming in North Carolina: Its Importance, History, and Controversy

Hog farming is integral to the North Carolina economy. The industry brings in around $10 billion in economic output each year for the state and generates over 40,000 jobs. But hog waste is a significant problem.

Commentary
Political History

How North Carolina Came to Be Shaped As It Is Today

1664-1775

When did North Carolina become known as North Carolina and acquire its modern shape? We must go back to Jan. 24, 1712, when Edward Hyde became the first governor of what became known as North Carolina, or more specifically, he was the first official governor under the Lords Proprietors. Carolina was then divided into two...

Commentary
Sports and Entertainment

Southern Culture’s Multiracial Mix Affects American Music

1946-1990

North Carolinians, and their Southern counterparts, have contributed much to the American music scene.

Commentary
Federalist

N.C. Has a Long History as Battleground State

1776-1835

North Carolina many times has been a battleground state and a determining factor in national debates. A study of the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and in particular what has become known as the “Connecticut Compromise,” provides an example of how North Carolinians provided key votes in the budding new union.

Commentary
Colonial North Carolina

North Carolina’s Ratification Debates Guaranteed Bill of Rights

1776-1835

The 1787-89 debates over ratifying the Constitution offer another example of North Carolina's longstanding role as a battleground state in U.S. political history.

Commentary
Ratification Debates

Constitution Day Marks Good Time For Reflection

1664-1775

September 17 is Constitution and Citizenship Day. It is important to remind ourselves of the Constitution, and other founding documents, for as No. 21 in Declaration of Rights in the 1776 N.C. Constitution reminds us: “a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is absolutely necessary, to preserve the blessings of liberty.”

Commentary
Sports and Entertainment

Hard-Living Tar Heel Charlie Poole A Pioneer of Banjo Music

1836-1865

During the early-1900s, Charlie Poole was a pioneer banjoist. His three-finger-style influenced later well-known musicians, and his group, North Carolina Ramblers, gained national fame. 

Commentary
Civil War

N.C. Played Crucial Role at Civil War’s End

1836-1865

During the horrid conflict (1861-65), when brother sometimes fought brother, approximately 750,000 lives were lost. Some scholars contend that one-sixth of the Confederate dead hailed from the Old North State. Unlike today, soldiers from the same county comprised regimental companies. As a result some communities — North and South — lost a great percentage of their male population. Many soldiers returned home alive yet without an arm, leg, or several limbs. Other veterans suffered from what doctors called “shell shock” during World War I and what we now call Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Commentary
Places

Early Naturalists Marveled at North Carolina’s Geographic Diversity

1664-1775

One can stand on a beautiful overlook in the Appalachian Mountains, then drive and enjoy the verdant Piedmont, and later listen to the cresting waves of the Atlantic Ocean — all in one day.

Commentary
Early America

Constitution Day: Tar Heels Take Center Stage in Famous Painting

1776-1835

On September 17, 1787, thirty-nine delegates signed the U.S. Constitution and then submitted it to the various state ratification conventions to approve. What was accomplished on that day was nothing less than remarkable: delegates had agreed on the final draft of the first written national constitution that still remains in effect. Today is Constitution Day, and we as Americans remember the signers’ actions and the document’s importance to ensuring the rule of law, even in our modern world.

Commentary
African American

Urban Slaves a Little-Recognized Part of The Southern Economy

1776-1835

In my experiences teaching United States history, students have a misconception that American slavery was strictly an agricultural institution. The slave labor experience, in particular, is considered one that existed entirely on plantation fields, sowing, tending, or harvesting cash crops — tobacco, cotton, or rice. Not all rural slaves worked on plantations, though; many toiled on smaller farms with a workforce of five to 10 field hands.

Commentary
African American

Freedmen’s Bank Served Blacks in Post-Civil War Economy

1866-1915

After the Civil War, former slaves were encouraged to participate in a free-labor economy. But much of the South lay in ruins. It was difficult to find work, much less start enterprising careers.