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D.G. Martin

Fire in Fayetteville leaves a gap in Chapel Hill

Why did a fire in Fayetteville cause a panic in Chapel Hill? When I got word about the April 9 fire that destroyed the Haymont Grill in Fayetteville, a little bit of me got destroyed, too. The Grill was a few blocks away from a house at 1805 Bragg Blvd., into which I and seven other lieutenants had stuffed ourselves while we were stationed at Fort Bragg in the early 1960s. The Grill became our favorite eating place, in part because Pete Skenteris, the longtime owner, took care of us. In early 2015, he told Chick Jacobs of the...

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Like actors, putting ourselves in the shoes of others

How hard is it for a white person to really understand the black experience well enough not to get into trouble when speaking about hot-button matters of community concern? Ask Hillary Clinton. Or ask her husband, the former president. Both have spent their lives working to improve the economic conditions of blacks and to increase the opportunities available to them. They take pride in their close associations with African Americans. But, when it comes to talking about race, they have proved that anybody can get into trouble. It makes one wonder why a white author like North Carolina native...

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Why it’s basketball, not politics, on our minds

Get used to it! Even though we are in the middle of a national election contest with choices so varied, so unusual, so important, and with a possible result that would stretch the traditions of American democracy… Even though terrorist movements challenge our security and the human values important to most Americans and threaten to overturn hopes for a world of tolerance and peace… Even though we have been jarred, locally, by rushed and heavy-handed legislation that flaunts the American tradition of openness and acceptance of different peoples and different ideas… Even with all that, what we want to...

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Tracing the cause of discontent to some demagogue

Have you had enough of presidential candidates flying in and out of North Carolina looking for primary votes? Wouldn’t it be nice if they came to see us after the election, like our first president, George Washington, who visited North Carolina soon after he took office? Thanks to a new book by Warren Bingham, “George Washington’s 1791 Southern Tour,” we can follow that trip traveling in Washington’s shoes. The new book explains that the president of the new country wanted to visit the different regions to promote unity after the recent bitter battles over adoption of the Constitution had...

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She’ll be thanking him in November

If Hillary Clinton is elected president in November, her very first thank-you should go to Bernie Sanders. “What?” you ask. “How could she thank Sanders when his vigorous campaign took people away from her natural and expected support groups– progressive women, young African Americans, and other liberals? “He is smearing her for the Clintons’ ties to big banking and big business. And for her earlier support of international trade agreements that are so unpopular with some workers’ groups. “And,” you assert, “he is pushing her too far to the left on positions that will hurt her with moderate or...

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A Firebrand North Carolinian and the President’s Wife

One more question before we forget about the black history month just ended: How did President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1938 visit to the University of North Carolina lead to a long friendship between the president’s wife and a young North Carolina African American woman? In 1938 in Chapel Hill, Roosevelt made a speech praising UNC for its excellence and progressiveness. In the same year, Pauli Murray’s application to the UNC graduate school was denied because she was African American. She wrote Roosevelt a fiery letter criticizing him for his praise of an institution that did not admit blacks, asking what...

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Would a name change be enough?

Should Fayetteville State University, the state’s oldest public HBCU (historically black college or university), change its name to the University of North Carolina at Fayetteville? Last week The Fayetteville Observer reported that the name change was being considered in the General Assembly. The proposed name change drew mixed reactions from the school’s alumni and students. Some, like Raymond Privott, president of FSU’s National Alumni Association, think the change would diminish its heritage. Others, like Curtis Worthy, president of the Cumberland County alumni chapter, are open to change. According to The Fayetteville Observer, he said, “Things do change. We need...

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Lee Smith’s best story yet

Lee Smith’s upcoming book, “Dimestore: A Writer’s Life,” tells her best story yet. After publishing 13 novels and numerous short stories that have won for her a passionately loyal group of fans and friends, the best-selling Hillsborough author has written a memoir, her first non-fiction book. It turns out that the real stories she tells are even better than the wonderful ones she has told in her novels and short stories. Her descriptions of the real characters in her life are, like her fictional characters, compelling. When “Dimestore” comes out in a few weeks, it will open the door...

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