Reconstruction was a turbulent time, filled with significant political and social change, violence, and controversy. One controversial figure was Albion Tourgee, an Ohioan who moved to North Carolina for economic opportunities.
James Gloster Brehon was an influential physician and scientist from Warrenton, North Carolina. Originally born in Ireland, he moved to the United States and participated in the Revolutionary War as a surgeon. One of Brehon’s great legacies was his role in the foundation of the Warrenton Academy in Warrenton, North Carolina.
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.
Opening its doors to students in 1795, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill upholds the distinction of being one of the oldest public universities in the country and the first public university to award degrees during the eighteenth century. Currently, UNC is ranked among several national publications that list the university as a preeminent leader in academic quality, affordability, and diversity. As of 2012, UNC- Chapel Hill, the flagship university of the state’s public college system, has a student body of 29,137. They are taught by 3,221 faculty.
One of the premier college newspapers in the United States, the Daily Tar Heel started publication in 1893. UNC students originally paid 5 cents per issue for the weekly newspaper. The newspaper is now a free daily. Some of North Carolina’s most well-known writers and publishers edited the Daily Tar Heel. Notables include Thomas Wolfe, Frank Porter Graham, and Jonathan Daniels.
Born in Illinois, Inglish Fletcher first visited North Carolina in 1934 researching her genealogy in the Tyrrell County historical records. She published her most prominent novel, Raleigh’s Eden, in 1941, and it detailed the Albemarle plantation culture in colonial North Carolina. Dedicated to research and historical accuracy, Fletcher published a twelve volume historical fiction set entitled the Carolina Series. The novelist moved to Edenton in 1941 where she became a prominent citizen who help start the North Carolina Writers Conference and the Elizabethan Gardens on the Roanoke Island.
One of the first females to practice medicine in the United States, Dr. Susan Dimock was born in Washington, North Carolina in 1847. Dimock trained under a local doctor before moving to Boston after the Civil War. Although she was denied entrance into Harvard Medical School, she moved to Europe where she attended the University of Zurich. She practiced medicine in Boston for several years, but in 1875, at 28 years of age she died after her ship wrecked off the coast of England.
Located in Mitchell County, the Penland School of Crafts has long been heralded as a haven for young craftsmen and women from around the world. Since its inception in the late 1920s, Penland has offered courses ranging from weaving to glassworking to silversmithing. Today, 1,200 people attend the school annually, and a vibrant, local crafts culture surrounds the school.
At the southwest corner of Central School, now known as “East Side Homes,” is a marble stone that predates the 1926 construction of Asheboro’s oldest existing African American school. It reminds passersby about the first African American school in the Piedmont town.
One of North Carolina’s greatest writers, Thomas Wolfe was born in Asheville in 1900. Wolfe’s childhood experiences in Asheville influenced much of the author’s masterpiece, Look Homeward, Angel. An eccentric, tall man, Wolfe lived in New York and Europe throughout his short life. He died from tuberculosis on September 15, 1938.