Influential minister and educator and university president in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Kenneth R. Williams won an alderman seat in 1947 and became the first African American to defeat a white opponent in a twentieth-century election in a Southern city
Subject: Modern Era
A former Congressman with a Ph.D. in chemistry, James Grubbs Martin came to Raleigh to serve as governor of North Carolina from 1985 to 1993. During his gubernatorial terms, Martin focused on roads and education, and the state led the nation in economic development.
Enacted in 1963, the Speaker Ban was a North Carolina state law that restricted the appearance of Communists and other radical speakers at state-supported campuses, including the University of North Carolina. The Speaker Ban sparked a major controversy over Communism, academic freedom, and the First Amendment.
On November 3, 1979, an armed confrontation between members of the Maoist Communist Workers Party (CWP) and several Klansmen and Nazis ended with four CWP members and one supporter being shot dead. Three trials soon followed, and CWP survivors and their supporters claimed that their anti-establishment views incited a conspiracy to have them killed.
As governor of North Carolina from 1953 to 1954, William B. Umstead spent much of his administration bed-ridden, yet he continued working to implement his ideas for what he called a “better tomorrow.”
The United States Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA 65) to strengthen the Civil Rights acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964 and eliminate voter discrimination at the state and local levels. Forty North Carolina counties came under the provisions of VRA 65.
At times conservative, at times progressive (as defined in the early 1900s), Cameron Morrison rose to political prominence in North Carolina as an ally of Furnifold M. Simmons, Democratic stalwart who dominated the state’s politics in the early decades of the twentieth century. During the late 1800s, Morrison started gaining statewide fame for leading the “Red Shirts." But he is most known for being "The Good Roads Governor" (1921-1925) and opposing the teaching of evolution in public schools. After his gubernatorial career, Morrison served as a United States Senator and Congressman.
Until 1868, the Governor was North Carolina’s only elected executive. The Constitution of 1868, however, created the office of Lieutenant Governor and provided for the popular election of the office of the Governor and the Lt. Governor, each for four-year terms. In 1970 the Lt. Governorship became full-time and evolved into the only elected post with executive and legislative duties.
A most atypical southern politician and U. S. Senator from 1933 to 1945, Robert Rice Reynolds was an unabashed isolationist and Anglophobe, whose foreign policy positions, not economic ones, alienated him from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Reynolds’s notorious womanizing and five marriages, opposition to Prohibition, flamboyant actions, and non-racist demagoguery set him apart from the straight-laced, Tar Heel politicians, who supported FDR’s aid-to-Britain policies.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had many fans, but North Carolina Senator Josiah Bailey, an author of the Conservative Manifesto of 1937, was not one. In a letter to anti-New Dealer Senator Peter G. Gerry of Rhode Island, Bailey wrote, “Our President is not actuated by principle, but by fears. He will try to head off anything in order that he may stay at the head.”