From the Civil Rights movement to famous pirates, the Tar Heel state has a tremendously interesting past.
Here are several historical facts related to North Carolina:
Greensboro Lunch Counter Sit-in. On February 1, 1960, four African-American male students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University went to a Woolworth's store in Greensboro, N.C., and sat at a white-only lunch counter. It was a well-planned protest and, upon management's request, the students left peacefully after being denied service. The next day, 29 male and female African-American students returned and, by Saturday, 1,400 students arrived to protest.
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White students from a nearby women's college also participated. The protests were nonviolent, but white people began harassing the protestors by spitting, throwing eggs and, in one case, setting a protestor's coat on fire. The protestors persevered, however, and by the end of the month blacks and whites were eating at the same lunch counters.
Blackbeard, also known as Edward Teach and believed to have been a native of England, was killed off the North Carolina Outer Banks in November 1718. He had begun his pirating career just five years earlier, when he joined the crew of a Caribbean sloop, manned by pirate Benjamin Hornigold. Blackbeard was a notorious pirate whose long, dark beard inspired his nickname. After capturing more than 30 ships during his pirating career, Blackbeard was slain during a bloody battle on Ocracoke Island off of North Carolina, according to History.com.
Virginia Dare, daughter of Ananias and Eleanor Dare, and granddaughter of Governor John White, was the first English-born child in the Americas. She was born August 18, 1587 at Roanoke Island in colonial Virginia, which is now present-day North Carolina.
Just nine days after her birth, grandfather John White, left the colony, intending to return within three months, but his return was delayed for several years. He finally returned on what would have been Virginia's third birthday, but to his dismay, found the colony abandoned. The fate of the settlers is unknown, and the colony became known as the "Lost Colony of Roanoke."
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Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C., is a 250-room chateau that was completed in 1895. George and Edith Vanderbilt constructed a luxurious family home full of elegance and charm, spanning three floors and a basement. Today, visitors can tour the home that contains displays of vintage clothing, art, and furniture. Original artwork by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and John Singer Sargent, 16th century tapestries, and a library with 10,000 volumes.
The home also includes 65 fireplaces, an indoor pool, and bowling alley. In addition to touring the house, visitors may tour the grounds, including a 2.5-mile path through manicured gardens, a walk along the French Broad River, and the open forests and meadows of Deer Park.
Three United States presidents were born in North Carolina. James K. Polk, born in 1795, served as President from 1845 to 1849. He was born in Mecklenburg County and was responsible for enlarging the borders of our nation. Andrew Jackson, born in Union County in 1767 and died in 1845, revitalized American Democracy. Andrew Johnson of Wake County, who was born in 1808 and was president from 1865 to 1869, was a staunch defender of the U.S. Constitution. He died in 1875.
Noteworthy Firsts related to North Carolina: There are quite a few "firsts" in North Carolina. The Wright Brothers made the first successful powered flight at Kill Devil Hills in near Kitty Hawk. On March 17, 1914, Babe Ruth hit his first professional homeroom in Fayetteville. Fayetteville was also home to the first miniature golf course.
Other firsts include the first English child born in America, Virginia Dare, and Hiram Rhoades Revels, who was born in 1822 and was the first African-American member of the U.S. Congress. Bath, North Carolina was the state’s first town, settled in 1705.
The Barn Dinner Theatre, which opened in 1964 in Greensboro, is the longest running dinner theater in America. Combined with Broadway-style performances, a traditional buffet, including a salad bar, vegetables, and bread designed to delight customers, is available. However, the carving station of black Angus roast beef and honey-glazed ham keep them coming back. Dessert includes fruit, cobblers and banana pudding. Enjoy comedies, dramas, and musicals in to form of "Dinnertainment."
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