McKee, Gertrude D. (1885 – 1948)

A native of Jackson County, North Carolina, Gertrude D. McKee became the first woman to serve in the North Carolina Senate.  Her terms were from 1931-33, 1937-39, and 1943-44.  She was known as a “pioneer of welfare programs” in North Carolina that served as models for other Southern states. 


Asking The Right Questions

Some people never ask the right questions. Or even ask anything. Take science and government intervention, for example. Many progressive actions (whatever progress is, no one has defined it sufficiently for me) are nothing more than barbarism revived. Case in point: the eugenics movement in 20th-century North Carolina.


Stanley, Kathryn T. (1903-1985)

  Despite never having been ordained, Kathryn T. Stanley still contributed significantly to the High Point community and the Congregational Christian Church denomination.   As her church’s "Director of Activities," Stanley was in every practical sense the de facto pastor of Washington Terrace Congregational Church.  


Tabitha Ann Holton

The first woman to be licensed as an attorney in North Carolina and in the Southern United States was Tabitha Ann Holton.


Lillian Exum Clement (1894-1925)

Lillian Exum Clement became the first woman elected to the North Carolina General Assembly and the first woman to serve in any state legislature in the American South.


Alexander, Annie Lowrie (1864-1929)

Annie Alexander has a unique place in history: the first female licensed to practice medicine in the South. Annie was strongly influenced by her father, a physician himself, who determined that she should become a doctor after one of his female patients died after refusing medical attention out of fear of being examined by a man. When Dr. Alexander told his wife of his desire to have Annie become a doctor, Mrs. Alexander fretted over bearing the cost of medical training, only to have Annie marry and forgo a career as a physician. Dr. Alexander’s response was blunt: "She must never marry. She’ll serve humanity".  


Palmer Memorial Institute

Nineteen-year old Charlotte Hawkins Brown, an African American educator, started the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina in 1902 to educate elementary and high school students in rural North Carolina.  Named after Brown’s benefactor and friend, Alice Freedman Palmer, the Institute began in an old blacksmith shed. 


State Dance: Clogging and Shagging

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.”


Jacobs, Harriet (1813-1897)

A former North Carolina slave turned abolitionist and author, Harriet Jacobs was born in bondage in Edenton.  In her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), Jacobs describes the abuse that she endured while a slave and is the best-known autobiography written by an African American woman during the 19th century.