Archive | Culture RSS for this section

School of the Arts Screenwriter’s Tapes Sought by Simpson Attorneys

Laura Hart McKinny and Mark Fuhrman. Image from Getty Images.

Laura Hart McKinny and Mark Fuhrman. Image from Getty Images.

On July 28, 1995, Forsyth County Superior Court Judge William Z. Wood, Jr., ruled against O. J. Simpson’s attorneys, holding that aspiring screenwriter Laura Hart McKinney did not have to turn over her taped interviews with Los Angeles police officer Mark Fuhrman and others.

Professor McKinney of the North Carolina School of the Arts, who was working on a screenplay and novel about women police officers, conducted the interviews about the work of LAPD officers between 1985 and 1994. She had amassed about 13 hours of tapes in which Fuhrman repeatedly used racial slurs and made remarks about police brutality, planting of evidence and harassment of female officers. 

Fuhrman later became a central figure in the O. J. Simpson trial after he found a bloody glove at the murder site on Simpson’s estate. Simpson’s defense team argued that the glove was planted and sought to use the tapes to bolster their argument as well as to prove that Furman perjured himself by denying his use of racial slurs. 

The following month, Simpson’s North Carolina lawyers, Kenneth B. Spaulding and Joseph B. Cheshire V, successfully appealed the decision to the North Carolina Court of Appeals on the grounds that it interfered with the defendant’s right to a fair trial. 

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Bingham Fortune Tied to Flaglers and Kenans

On July 27, 1917, Duplin County native Mary Lily Kenan Flagler Bingham died under suspicious circumstances in Louisville, Kentucky.   

The daughter of Confederate officer and successful businessman William Rand Kenan, Mary had previously been married to millionaire Henry M. Flagler and became one of the wealthiest women in the United States at his death in 1913.

In 1916, Flagler married Judge Robert Worth Bingham, who was deeply in debt. Bingham signed a prenuptial agreement that gave up any claim to her fortune, but once they were married Flagler paid his debts and gave him a generous allowance. 

A headline announcing the controversy that followed Bingham’s death. Image from New York Social Diary.

Flagler’s death was suspicious primarily because Bingham had hired his dermatologist to give Flagler injections of morphine in the months leading up to it. The injections were supposed to be treatments for heart problems Flagler was experiencing. Additionally, relatives were surprised by a codicil added to Flagler’s will a month before her death. Written on the doctor’s stationery and witnessed by Bingham alone, the codicil left $5 million Bingham. 

Within weeks of Flagler’s burial, family members had her body exhumed from Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, and an autopsy was performed. Enormous amounts of morphine and heavy metal poisons were found in her body. 

The Kenan family attempted to stop Bingham’s inheritance, but when the Kentucky courts ruled for Bingham, they did not pursue an appeal.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Good Times for Ernie Barnes of Durham

Barnes with his painting "In Remembrance." Image from the Barnes Family Trust.

Barnes with his painting “In Remembrance.” Image from the Barnes Family Trust.

On July 15, 1938, football player, painter and all around Renaissance man Ernie Barnes was born in Durham.

As a child, Barnes began to draw as an antidote to bullying. He later developed physical discipline and became captain of Durham’s then segregated Hillside High football team, receiving an athletic scholarship to what’s now N.C. Central University in 1956.

At Central Barnes studied art, but he left in 1959 before graduating to play professional football for six years.

Nicknamed “Big Rembrandt,” Barnes kept a sketchbook with him on the field and turned the physical and emotional violence of the game into paintings. He also became known for depictions of people, often African Americans, engaged in everyday life but with their eyes symbolically closed.

His work is evocative and tangible, fusing elongated sculptural forms of the human body with vibrant color, movement and emotional intensity.

Barnes’s paintings have appeared on the sitcom “Good Times” as the work of the show’s character JJ.  “The Sugar Shack”, a well-known painting, appeared in the show’s credits and later became the cover image for Marvin Gaye’s album “I Want You.”

In addition to his work as a painter and athlete, Barnes authored books, co-created a TV special, and appeared in a number television programs and films, including episodes of “Good Times”.

He died in Los Angeles in 2009.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Wry Television Journalist David Brinkley a Wilmingtonian

Brinkley in the newsroom of ABC's Washington, D.C. bureau, circa 1987. Image from UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries.

Brinkley in the newsroom of ABC’s Washington, D.C. bureau, circa 1987. Image from UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries.

On July 10, 1920, broadcaster David Brinkley was born in Wilmington.

Brinkley got his start in 1938 as a reporter with the Wilmington Morning Star. After serving briefly in the Army, Brinkley was hired by the NBC radio network as a news writer partly for his knack for “writing for the ear.” In 1956, he was paired with Chet Huntley to cover the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

The duo proved so popular that NBC tapped them to anchor their evening television news program The Huntley Brinkley Report.  The program went on to become the number one rated evening newscast of the 1960s. Brinkley reported from Washington, D.C. and Huntley from New York.

In 1981, Brinkley went to work for ABC and hosted a Sunday morning interview program This Week with David Brinkley.

The title of his 1995 book, David Brinkley: 11 Presidents, 4 Wars, 22 Political Conventions, 1 Moon Landing, 3 Assassinations, 2,000 Weeks of News and Other Stuff on Television and 18 Years of Growing Up in North Carolina, reflects the breadth of his career. Among Brinkley’s accolades are 10 Emmys, three George Foster Peabody Awards and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Brinkley died at his home in Texas in 2003 at the age of 82. He is buried in Wilmington’s Oakdale Cemetery.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Craft Brewery Industry Launched in Manteo, 1986

The entrance to Weeping Radish's current location in Grandy.

The entrance to Weeping Radish’s current location in Grandy. Image from Weeping Radish Brewery.

On July 4, 1986, North Carolina’s first microbrewery opened.

Weeping Radish Brewery in Manteo was the first in what is now a long list of craft breweries in the state. Now in its 30th year of business, the brewery offers six year-round brews, as well as five seasonal offerings.

Founder Uli Bennewitz came to North Carolina in the early 1980s and decided to open a microbrewery similar to those he had seen in Bavaria. At that time, it was illegal in North Carolina for a brewery to sell beer directly to consumers. Working with state leaders Bennewitz helped change the law to allow microbreweries to sell their beer onsite.

Since its beginning, Weeping Radish has brewed beer according to the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot Purity Law of 1516 which states that beer must be brewed using only four ingredients: hops, malt, yeast and water.

As North Carolina’s craft beer culture has grown, so has Weeping Radish’s business. A new, larger location opened in Grandy in 2001 and includes a restaurant, butcher’s facility, and farm as well as a larger brewery. Though the original Manteo location closed in 2007, the Grandy brewery continues to be a popular stop for visitors heading to the Outer Banks.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Hollerin’ Since 1969

hollerin-contest

An early National Hollerin’ Contest. Image from the contest’s archive.

On June 28, 1969, the first National Hollerin’ Contest was held in Spivey’s Corner in Sampson County.

The contest is the product of the farm culture of the Sandhills region. Before the advent of the telephone, yelling loudly, or hollering, was the primary way farmers and neighbors communicated in rural North Carolina. As new technologies made communication easier, the practice began to disappear.

The idea for the contest grew out of a conversation on a local radio program. The contest’s two goals were to preserve agricultural heritage and attract tourists to a struggling region. Though Spivey’s Corner only had about 50 residents in 1969, the first contest attracted between 2,000 and 3,000 visitors and garnered national media attention from North Carolina’s own Charles Kuralt and others.

The contest’s first winner was 70-year-old Dewey Jackson. For his prize-wining rendition of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” Jackson earned an appearance on The Tonight Show and a congratulatory letter from President Richard Nixon.

Held annually until 2015, the contest continued to draw large crowds to rural Sampson County and expanded to a full day of family events. Organizers announced that the contest would be suspended in 2016.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts, nature and culture, visit DNCR online. To receive these updates automatically each day, make sure you subscribe by email using the box on the right, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Wilkes to Watauga Wagon Train Commemorated Carolina Charter

The wagon train during its first trip in 1963. Image from the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.

The wagon train during its first trip in 1963. Image from the Wilkes Journal-Patriot.

On June 27, 1963, more than 150 people in mostly 19th century garb and nearly 25 wagons pulled by livestock departed from a Wilkes County farm for a three-day, 35-mile journey to Boone.

Designed to recall a 1773 trip that famed frontiersman Daniel Boone took through the area, the “reenactment” was more a reflection of the 1960s than it was of 1663, the year the Carolina Charter was granted. The Daniel Boone Wagon Train as it was called was first intended to commemorate the Charter’s 300th anniversary. In fact, it seems that organizers drew more upon Wagon Train, a popular TV show of the time.

Likely more spectacle than history, the journey actually ended up being relatively difficult, mostly because of bad weather, uncooperative animals and a number of unfortunate accidents. Despite that fact, the Wagon Train became an annual event and grew in size for much of the rest of the decade.

The Wagon Train was cancelled in 1974 due to increasing rowdiness, and saw a brief revival in the 1980s.

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,591 other followers