D.G. Martin

One on One: “Bad Girls at Samarcand”

If you asked almost anybody in the world to tell you about Samarcand and you got any answer at all, it would be about an ancient city still existing in modern day Uzbekistan. But if you asked a North Carolinian and got an answer, it might be about a reform school for girls, in Moore County, where some inmates in 1931 set fires that destroyed two residential buildings. The girls were charged with arson, then a death penalty crime, and put on trial for their lives. That story was recounted three years ago in  “The Wayward Girls of Samarcand” by Melton McLaurin and Anne Russell. On November 18, at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association in Raleigh, a new book about Samarcand won this year’s Ragan Old North State Award Cup for Nonfiction. Karin L. Zipf, an associate professor of history at East Carolina University, is the author of “Bad Girls at Samarcand: Sexuality and Sterilization in a Southern Juvenile Reformatory.” Zipf uses the 1931 fire only as a starting point to tell more disturbing stories. She explains, “The Samarcand arson case and investigation served as a turning point in NorthCarolina’s public policy history. This public policy shift, from reform and redemption to classification and parole, represented a new construction of white supremacy, a racism that defined whiteness more narrowly and stripped its privileges from...

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One on One: Trump, Helms, and Democratic unity

Are there silver linings for North Carolina Democrats after Donald Trump’s sweep in our state on his road to victory in the presidential election? The apparent victory of Roy Cooper for governor, of course, if it holds, could provide Cooper the opportunity to serve the state and to keep Democrats involved in state government. Josh Stein as attorney general and Mike Morgan on the state supreme court are important victories with more than a little silver in the linings. But these are exceptions in a barrel full of disappointments. Hillary Clinton and Deborah Ross, after well-funded and vigorous campaigns fell well short. Two long serving members of the Council of State, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, lost in close races. No incumbent Republicans lost. Republicans also maintained their solid, veto-proof majorities in the General Assembly. But Democrats should take heart. The election returns show that North Carolina remains a purple state, one that is competitive for both parties in statewide elections if they can nominate and finance appealing candidates. And, if they can find something to unify them. The Republicans found that unifying something this year. It was not Donald Trump. Divided on policy and support for their presidential candidate, they united in their dislike of their opponent, Hillary Clinton. “I am not voting for Trump,” my Republican friends told me over and...

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Celebrating D.G. Martin Day in Chapel Hill

I am famous for having been the Democratic candidate to follow D.G. Martin’s congressional campaigns in Charlotte in 1984 and 1986. I ran in the same district in 1988 and 1990. Now I know how Roger Maris felt in 1961 when Mickey Mantle got injured and couldn’t make the full run for the home run title held at that time by Babe Ruth. D.G. Martin was the candidate that everybody in the Democratic Party wanted to go to Washington back in 1984 and 1986, and I was just a poor substitute when I tried to follow D.G.’s illustrious and...

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Celebrating D.G. Martin Day

WCHL is celebrating D.G. Martin Day on Thursday. D.G. Martin connects readers, listeners, and viewers to books, politics, food, and the Tar Heel State.  He writes columns, hosts Who’s Talking on WCHL, and is the star of North Carolina Bookwatch on UNC-TV. Ron Stutts shares his thoughts on D.G. Martin: “Most people don’t know this, but D.G. actually played on the basketball team at Davidson, for the legendary coach Lefty Driesell.  Somehow, Lefty’s basketball program managed to survive.  After D.G. graduated, he served in the United States Army, completed Airborne School, and was a member of the United States Special Forces.  After...

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Climbing a New Mountain Peak

“Life is like a mountain range,” Ping Fu told a group of UNC-Chapel Hill students last week. Fu is the founder of Geomagic, Inc., which developed the computer code that made 3-D printing possible. Earlier this year, she sold Geomagic to Spartanburg, S. C., based 3D Systems Corp., a manufacturer of 3-D printing machines, for a reported $55 million. Three-dimensional printing makes it possible to duplicate an object with the same ease that a laser printer copies a page from a book. It is changing the way we think about manufacturing. Using the proper computer directions for a 3-D...

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