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.
Subject: Sports and Entertainment
Many modern-day Americans consider dueling to be a senseless act of violence, but for many Southerners and North Carolinian gentlemen, the act was many times a defense of honor.
Protégée of basketball inventor James Naismith, John McLendon was born in Hiawatha, Kansas. At the University of Kansas, McLendon changed the pace of the game from a crawl to a fast-paced, high-action event by implementing the fast break method of basketball. Fast break basketball emphasized teamwork, speed and agility. Although he is credited with improving basketball, McLendon was not permitted to play on Kansas’s varsity team because of his race
Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith (1921-), son of a poor mill worker, rose to become one of country music’s brightest stars. His singles, including “Guitar Boogie” and “Feuding Banjos,” sold millions of copies, and millions more people tuned in to his radio and television programs.
The Wallace Wade Stadium, which was originally named the Duke Stadium, is the home of Duke’s football team, the Blue Devils. The stadium also owns a special niche in college football history; it is the only facility outside Pasadena, California, to host the Rose Bowl. In 1967, in honor of its legendary football coach, the stadium’s name was changed to Wallace Wade Stadium.
During the Jim Crow era, African American college teams were barred from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). But a brave few found ways around these restrictions. A secret game held in 1944 between a white team from Duke and a black team from NCCU was one of the first integrated sports events in the South.
A native of Randolph County, Charlie Poole grew up in Alamance County in a cotton mill village and later became one of the best banjo musicians in the Southeast and a Columbia Records superstar before his premature death. He started the country group North Carolina Ramblers and was known for his three-finger style banjo playing.
While several states have an official dance, North Carolina is among the few with two official state dances. In 2005, the General Assembly passed a bill making clogging the official folk dance of North Carolina and shagging as the official popular dance of North Carolina. Both dances were chosen for the entertainment value that they bring to “participants and spectators in the State.”
Possibly the best football player to graduate from UNC and one of the best football players to play intercollegiate ball, Charlie Justice, played for the Washington Redskins before recurring injuries prematurely ended his professional career.
An Asheville native, Thomas Wolfe emerged as one of the early-twentieth century’s most controversial writers. His meandering writing style irritated many editors, who nevertheless recognized a diamond in the rough and published his work. His first novel, Look Homeward Angel, angered many of his former mountain neighbors; his novel was autobiographical, and he did little to mask the characters’ identities.