D.G. Martin

One on One: The Dream-Wrecking Hurricane of 1935

Why did the powerful hurricane Irma get me thinking about the football stadium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill? Think Kenan Memorial Stadium, where the Tar Heels play football and Kenan-Flagler, the name of UNC’s business school. What did these names have to do with the hurricane that attacked the Florida Keys on September 10? Folks in Florida are surrounded by the Flagler name. On streets, statues, colleges, museums, counties, it seems to be everywhere. All these Flagler connections honor the legendary Henry Flagler. At the turn of the last century, he transformed Florida’s East Coast...

Read More

One on One: Four Books, Four Struggles

Could a miracle hair straightening ignite a deadly epidemic? Can a scientist persuade you that the findings of his discipline show the existence of God? Can the research and experience of a young woman struggling to have a child provide aid and comfort to others in the same struggle? Can a best-selling author of legal thrillers change genres and write a successful literary thriller? Four books I suggest for your October reading will provide answers to these questions. When UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch opens its new season in October, it will feature all of these books. One of the...

Read More

One on One: Recapturing The Dream of College

At your age, could you go back to college and get some of the experiences that you missed? It would be a dream come true for some of us. Or a nightmare, like the dreams I still have of being in college, unprepared for an upcoming final exam. Putting aside the exams, experiencing some of the best teachers give their careful, interesting and entertaining classes is an idea that excites me. Such experiences are increasingly available. On Saturday, September 23, The News & Observer is sponsoring a “One Day University” in Raleigh that features lectures by four nationally-known university...

Read More

One on One: A Chapel Hill Monument Comes Down

A monument to a treasured past came down in Chapel Hill last week. No, the Silent Sam statute of a Confederate soldier still stands. The lost monument came from the death of 94-year old Dickson Phillips, the former UNC Law School dean and long-time judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Phillips’ distinguished career spanned an era of important changes. His role in facilitating those changes and helping us adjust to them makes his passage monumental. But his death also brought to a close an important North Carolina institution known as the Class of 1948...

Read More

One on One: Confederate Monuments and a Whiskey Speech

Is there some way to help President Trump recover from the damage caused by his comments relating to events in Charlottesville and the future of Confederate monuments? Perhaps he could issue a statement of his position following the model of the classic “If-by-Whiskey” speech given by Noah Sweat, a Mississippi legislator, in 1952 on the controversial question of legalizing the sale of liquor. In that speech, Sweat passionately and convincingly argued two opposing sides of a serious issue. If our president followed that model, he could explain his position as follows: **** My friends, I had not intended to...

Read More

One on One: “Cold Mountain” 20 years later

“It was not a book that required following from front to back, and Inman simply opened it at random, as he had done night after night in the hospital to read until he was calm enough for sleep.” That book was “Bartram’s Travels,” as described in Charles Frazier’s classic novel, “Cold Mountain.” Bartram’s book is a treasured possession of Inman, the wounded Confederate soldier who has deserted. As he makes his way from a Raleigh hospital to his home on Cold Mountain west of Asheville for a hoped-for reunion with his beloved Ada, he opens Bartram regularly to read...

Read More

One on One: End-of-Summer Reads Challenge Our View of History

Two recent books have pushed North Carolinians to deal with unpleasant episodes in our state’s history. In “The Wilmington Ten: Violence, Injustice, and the Rise of Black Politics in the 1970s,” author Kenneth Janken asserts that “The case of the Wilmington Ten amounts to one of the most egregious instances of injustice and political repression from the post–World War II black freedom struggle. It took legions of people working over the course of the 1970s to right the wrong.” Journalist Cash Michaels writes that Janken’s book describes what is “arguably North Carolina’s most notorious case of criminal frame-up,” and he says it...

Read More

One on One: The Eateries of Madison County

Some people fall in love with bridges, as in the late Robert James Waller’s “The Bridges of Madison County,” the best-selling romance novel from 1992. Others, like me, fall in love with eateries. So here goes with “The Eateries of Madison County, North Carolina” and some information about three restaurants that could be included in a follow up volume to my book, “North Carolina’s Roadside Eateries: A Traveler’s Guide to Local Restaurants, Diners, and Barbecue Joints.” I found these Madison County eateries while attending the Laughing Heart Literary Festival at the iconic Laughing Heart Lodge in Hot Springs. Smoky...

Read More

One on One: 76 Trombones and Loyalties to Con Men

“Seventy-six trombones led the big parade, with a hundred and ten coronets close at hand. They were followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuosos, the dream of ev’ry famous band.” Can you guess where I am going with this? “Seventy-six trombones caught the morning sun. With a hundred and ten cornets right behind. There were more than a thousand reeds, springing up like weeds. There were horns of every shape and kind.” Remember those words from “The Music Man” and how the lead character, Harold Hill, came to town and gave people hope promising to train town...

Read More

One on One: Which Political Party is More Anti-Science?

If Jim Martin could make peace between religion and science, could he do something similar about his Republican Party’s war with science? A few weeks ago I wrote about our former governor’s new book, “Revelation Through Science: Evolution in the Harmony of Science and Religion.” In it, he explains how the discoveries of science do not conflict with his Christian faith. In fact, he asserts scientific “truths” like the Big Bang and evolution theories are evidence of the wise hand of a creator God. Before I interviewed Martin last week for an upcoming episode of UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch,...

Read More