D.G. Martin

One on One: Good Books for the Folks You Forgot

You forgot somebody, didn’t you? Somebody who is expecting a present from you? Now, remembering this person, you have no idea what to give. Here are some thoughts for last-minute gifts drawn from my recent reading. At the top of your list of books for your friends who are public policy or history nerds should be two North Carolina authors whose books recently made the list of The New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of 2017. Charlotte native Graham Allison’s “Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?” puts the dangers in the U.S.-China dynamic relationship in understandable...

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One on One: Learning from Alabama

What could we North Carolinians learn about ourselves when we sort out the results of the December 12 Alabama special U. S. Senate election? Nothing, you say. We are not like Alabama. They are Deep South. We are mid-South. They are mired in their George Wallace ”Stuck in the mud” tradition while we North Carolinians have thrived in our Terry Sanford ”New South” progressive tradition. Not so fast. Remember when those traditions clashed in 1972? Wallace and Sanford faced each other in the Democratic presidential primary in North Carolina. Wallace beat Sanford by more than 100,000 votes, effectively ending...

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One on One: A Lesson From My Toppled Hero

Stunned. North Carolina lost another monument. It came like a flash. And I am still reeling. Charlie Rose was one of North Carolina’s nationally best-known and most admired people. He was right up there with Michael Jordan, Billy Graham and the late Andy Griffith, as someone that people in the rest of the country know and admire. After stating that North Carolina had given to the world giants of 20th Century journalism Edward R. Murrow, David Brinkley, and Charles Kuralt, the “Moon Guidebook to North Carolina” says, “Charlie Rose carries their torch today.” Like these predecessor giants, Rose brought...

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One on One: A Historic Life

Does the life of a Jewish woman who was born, lived, and died in the same house in Goldsboro have lessons for today’s historians? The answer is yes, lots of lessons, which is certainly one of the reasons that the newly published UNC Press book, “Gertrude Weil: Jewish Progressive in the New South,” by Leonard Rogoff, won this year’s Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction given by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association. Weil’s father and his brothers immigrated to the United States from German Bavaria a few years before the American Civil War. In Goldsboro, these German-Jewish...

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One on One: Across State Lines

A message from Virginia for Democrats: Fight Trump, not each other. North Carolina is not Virginia, and 2017 is not 2018 or 2020. But North Carolina Democrats and Republicans still watched what happened in our neighboring state’s elections last week for clues about next year’s elections in our state. Although they are different states, there are similarities. Arguably, Virginia and North Carolina are more like each other than either is to any other state. They are about the same size geographically (VA 42,770 square miles; NC 53,820) and population wise (VA about 8.5 million people; NC about 10 million)....

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One on One: Bad Ideas for the UNC System

What is the worst idea floating around about the UNC system these days? Jesse White, who headed up the Southern Growth Policies Board and also served adjunct professor of government and city and regional planning at UNC-Chapel Hill, has an answer. “Political meddling with academic institutions is a dangerous business,” he wrote in the Raleigh News & Observer on November 4. Indeed, the legislature and the UNC Board of Governors have frightened the public education community with a series of actions and proposals regarding university activities and funding. Jesse White writes, “The connection between the highly partisan General Assembly...

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One on One: Any Home for the Political Middle?

“The bottom has fallen out of the Republican Party.” So wrote Fort Worth’s Star-Telegram columnist Cynthia Allen last week. “Well,” she continued, “not the bottom exactly. More like the middle.” She was writing about Texas, where the far right-wingers are driving moderates out of the party.  “So-called Republican ‘moderates’ have been living on borrowed time. They are vestiges of an era when compromise was a hallmark of good policymaking.” She had harsher words for Texas Democrats, who, she said, “drove out every member of their party who didn’t adopt the agenda of the far left.” If Allen lived in North Carolina,...

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One on One: Rewriting History

Don’t worry about the monuments coming down. There is more. People are rewriting our history. Some folks who oppose taking down Civil War monuments argue that such actions would destroy important history. Meanwhile, a group of prominent North Carolina historians are revising our state’s history, and they are doing it proudly. “New Voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina History,” was published this month by UNC Press. Several years ago the volume’s editors, Larry Tise and Jeffrey Crow, both former directors of North Carolina’s Division of Archives and History, concluded,  “We need a new narrative for North Carolina’s history!” Crow...

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One on One: Moral Mondays

Is the Rev. William Barber, leader of North Carolina’s Moral Monday protests, going to take the movement to the rest of the country? Beginning in 2013, the Goldsboro minister has led demonstrations at the state’s legislative building and in other state offices and properties. The groups he led often used civil disobedience to protest against actions that he said resulted in unfair treatment, discrimination, voting suppression, damage to the environment, unfair taxes, and cuts to public education. Next year, as he explained in a lecture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last week, he plans a...

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One on One: A Lost College Still Shines

What is North Carolina’s best-known and most influential college? It might be an institution that went out of business 60 years ago, Black Mountain College. Still today, educators praise and criticize the college’s progressive and collaborative approach. In 2015, Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art’s exhibit, titled “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957,” celebrated the college’s “cultural force long felt” and the “school’s ethos, in which experience was the basis of knowledge, and objects were not fixed things, but mirrors of their environment, the result of action and experimentation.” A book being released this week opens the door to understanding...

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