DG MARTIN COLUMN: 100 years of history

Published 9:37 am Monday, September 18, 2023

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What can we learn from our state’s history?

Many of us learned the basics in the eighth grade.

But that was a long time ago and it’s hard to remember after so many years.

D.G. Martin

Don’t worry. There is help, in the form of The North Carolina Historical Review, which is published four times a year by the North Carolina Office of Archives and History.

This year the Review is marking 100 years of service. Since 1924, it “has been a definitive source for the study and understanding of North Carolina history. Regular features include carefully researched, handsomely illustrated articles that explore North Carolina and southern history from the colonial period to the present and cover a variety of subjects; reviews of books about state, regional, and national history; an annual bibliography of books pertaining to North Carolina subjects; an annual index; and a listing, printed annually, of theses and dissertations related to North Carolina subjects.”

For those of us who treasure the past and the lessons it can teach, the Review is a welcome asset.

Why? Each issue brings a variety of articles, book reviews and other historical resources, such as graduate theses and dissertations, almost too much in each issue for one person to assimilate.

The listing of the contents of each of last year’s issues makes that point:

Volume 99 (2022)

January: “Facing East from Tryon Mountain: New Vantages on the ‘Great Wolf,’ Rogues, and Regulators” by Stuart H. Marshall; “The Role of Baptist and Meredith College Leadership in White Supremacist Advocacy and Policy in Early Twentieth-Century North Carolina” by Daniel L. Fountain; and “Dog Racing in North Carolina, 1948–1954: A Failed Attempt at Legalized Gambling” by Robert Pierce Patrick Jr.

April: “How Mary Became Angady [sic]: Creating an Emancipated Identity” by Adrienne Berney; “Like a Herd of Cattle Terrified by the Scream of a Panther: White Panic, Phantom Uprisings, and the Disfranchisement of Free Men of Color in Antebellum North Carolina” by Lucas P. Kelley; and “The Tar River Region and the Internal Improvements Movement in North Carolina, 1796 to 1834,” by Eric Medlin.

July: “A Fresh Voice from the South” by Jeffrey J. Crow, “Gender and Jim Crow: Sarah Dudley Pettey’s Vision of the New South” by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore; “A Hank of Hair Here, a Piece of Bone There: Glenda Gilmore’s Feminist Political History” by Keira Williams; “Glenda Gilmore and the Search For a New Southern History” by Robert Greene II; “From the Personal to the Theoretical: Reflecting on Glenda Gilmore’s Gender and Jim Crow” by Martin Summers; “Retrospective: Glenda Gilmore’s ‘Gender and Jim Crow: Sarah Dudley Pettey’s Vision of the New South and “Black Women’s Activism in North Carolina” by Brandi C. Brimmer; “Gender and Jim Crow Twenty-Five Years Later” by Elizabeth Gillespie McRae; “Re-visioning the Southern Past: Strategies of Narration in Gender and Jim Crow” by Jane Dailey; and “Everything Has a History” by Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore.

October: “The First March on Raleigh: North Carolina College School of Law and the Fight for Educational Equality” by Crystal R. Sanders; “A Capitol Controversy: The Mysterious Firing of William Drummond” by Catherine W. Bishir.

The coverage of topics of gender and race shown above reflects the increasing prominence of women authors. In the early days of the Review the authors were mostly white and male and the topics largely political and economic. From the early years and continuing until recently, the Civil War and Reconstruction have been regular topics.

The most recent issue of the Review, titled “100 Years,” documents the changes in topics covered during current times. It promises that future issues will be responsive to changing times without abandoning its duty to put the state’s past in perspective.

Happy birthday to the Review and many happy returns — four times every year.

Subscriptions to the Review are $30 per year ($20 for students). Make payment to: Editor, North Carolina Historical Review Historical Research Office 4610 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-4610.

D.G. Martin, a retired lawyer, served as UNC-System’s vice president for public affairs and hosted PBS-NC’s “North Carolina Bookwatch.”