Commentary

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
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
Early America

A U.S. Supreme Court Justice Who Met an Unfortunate End

1776-1835

Many United States and North Carolina history enthusiasts are aware that President George Washington nominated James Iredell, Sr. (namesake of Iredell County, North Carolina) as one of the first justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. Far fewer are aware of James Wilson.

Commentary
African American

Reconstruction Bibliography

1866-1915

A list of important sources and further readings on American Reconstruction and Reconstruction in North Carolina.

Commentary
Cities

Names of Streets and Parks in Raleigh Loaded With History

1776-1835

Street signs can be much more than guideposts. They often can provide interesting clues into an area’s history.

Commentary
Colonial North Carolina

Defending Liberty From The Bench

1664-1775

A jurist and pamphleteer from North Carolina, Maurice Moore opposed the passage and implementation of the Stamp Act (1765).  He was the father of Alfred Moore, a justice on the United State Supreme Court.  

Commentary
Modern Era

Echoes From the Past

1946-1990

A recent history column briefly described An Inch of Snow (1964), an out-of-print novel depicting a state legislative race in North Carolina.  It was more than entertainment depicting small-town North Carolina life. The novel’s fictitious speeches by Democratic and Republican candidates reflect the actual economic concerns of North Carolinians in the 1960s.  The arguments offered are often repeated nowadays in print and on air and behind debate podiums and at dinner tables across the state.

Commentary
Sports and Entertainment

1960s Novel Easily Could Describe Political Debates of Today

1946-1990

Fiction is more than entertainment.  It informs readers about the times in which it was written. An Inch of Snow (1964) is such a novel.  It was written by William E. Cobb, a Burke County Republican, who served as a minority leader in the North Carolina Senate and served as the North Carolina Republican Chairman.

Commentary
Early America

North Carolina Ratification Conventions: Five Quotes You Need To Know

1776-1835

Many North Carolinians expressed Antifederalist sympathies and were skeptical of giving the national government more authority, especially without a Bill of Rights added to the Constitution. There might be problems with the Articles of Confederation, sure, but did Americans, many Tar Heels questioned, need to hurriedly give the national government more power?

Commentary

It’s the Small Lessons in Life That Often Are The Most Important

1776-1835

“Paint with the grain, son!,” my father reminded me for what seemed to be the umpteenth time. I had been assigned the task of painting the picnic table and benches.

Commentary
Jeffersonians

Antifederalists Would Be Proud of Rand Paul’s Filibuster

1836-1865

When U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., filibustered in March, the old-fashioned way, talking for approximately 13 hours and questioning whether the president had the constitutional authority to use unmanned drones to kill American noncombatants on U.S. soil, he unnerved many politicians and talking heads.

Commentary
Colonial North Carolina

Inglis Fletcher’s Novels Offered Entertaining Perspective Of Early N.C. History

1916-1945

Maybe more so than any other novelist below the Mason-Dixon line, including the 19th-century William Gilmore Simms of South Carolina, Inglis Fletcher of North Carolina painted the most comprehensive, historical portrait of the land on which she lived.