What an unusual lady! Charming when she needed to be, but tough as nails and mean as a snake. She showed women around the world that they could take the lead in a country that had never had a female prime minister and make it work well.
But, we have learned that she was not a vigorous advocate for the advancement of other women. She did not want to be viewed as a token at any stage of her career. Other women, she believed, should work to advance on their own merit and not be given special opportunities because of their gender.
North Carolina’s own iron lady had similar views, as explained by Anna Hayes in “Without Precedent,” her 2008 biography of North Carolina Chief Justice Susie Sharp.
When Sharp entered law school at Chapel Hill in 1926, she was the only woman in her class. When she began practicing law in 1929, women could not be judges or serve on juries. Nor was there much encouragement for her from the judge who administered her oath for admission to the bar. He lectured her, “Well, young lady, I congratulate you and all like that, but I’d be derelict in my duty if I didn’t tell you that you will never make a lawyer. If you persist, you will just be wasting your time, playing in the sand. I advise you to start right now trying to find something more appropriate to do.”
However, by 1949 her talent as a lawyer and her political connections led to appointment as a superior court judge, which required her to hold court in different parts of the state. At one courthouse she found that access to the judge’s chambers was only through the men’s restroom.
As a trial court judge, according to Hayes, Sharp offered a “sterling example of how a court should be run—knowledgeably, fairly, and efficiently—earning the respect of lawyers and litigants alike. She was a tireless crusader in her courtroom remarks and public speeches for the rule of law as the foundation of democracy, and for active, informed citizenship.”
Her service led to appointment to the state’s supreme court and election as its chief justice where Hayes said in an interview for the book’s publisher, UNC Press, “She was known as a legal scholar whose opinions were models of lucidity, and who undertook on occasion to bring about needed changes in the law…As a woman, of course, through her example she expanded opportunities for women in the legal profession and public life.”
Ironically, Hayes said, Sharp was an “obdurate opponent” of the Equal Rights Amendment in the battle for ratification in North Carolina that raged from 1970 to 1982 and “she exerted every effort she could to defeat the amendment. She based her opposition largely on the arguable idea that women were already protected under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and believed that the ERA would cause women to lose existing protections they had under the law. … North Carolina was considered a critical state whose approval could break the logjam and create momentum toward ratification. … Justice Sharp was undeniably influential in the ERA’s defeat in North Carolina, and to that extent, can be said to bear some credit or blame for its ultimate failure in the nation.”
Even those who disagree with Thatcher’s and Sharp’s positions on women’s issues or other important matters must be grateful for these iron ladies’ tenacious and successful battles that demonstrated powerfully how women can perform exceptionally well and lead at the very highest levels.
D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. For more information or to view prior programs visit the webpage at www.unctv.org/ncbookwatch.
Next week’s (April 21, 25) guest is Vicki Lane author of “Under the Skin.”
Vicki Lane sets her popular novels on the farms and small towns in mountainous Madison County north of Asheville, where she and her husband have lived since moving there from Tampa, Florida, in 1975. In “Under the Skin,” she turns her mountain surroundings into compelling fiction.
The program will also air at Wednesday April 24 at 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on UNC-MX, a digital cable system channel (Time Warner #172 or #4.4). In addition, airing at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on UNC-MX will be a classic Bookwatch program featuring Isabel Zuber author of “Salt.”
A grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council provides crucial support for North Carolina Bookwatch.
Ready or not, spring is here and it is time for a seasonal update on new books important to North Carolinians.
This month’s most important literary news is the release of “Life After Life,” popular author Jill McCorkle’s first novel in 17 years. McCorkle fills a southeastern North Carolina retirement facility with quirky residents, staff, and visitors whose encounters with each other make readers wonder whether to laugh or cry. She will be the guest on North Carolina Bookwatch at noon on Sunday, March 31 and Thursday, April 4, at 5 p.m.
Understanding the actions and attitudes of our parents and grandparents in dealing with the system of oppressive racial segregation that confronted them is one of our great challenges. Some of the best Southern writers deal with our past in ways that make for compelling storytelling. UNC-Chapel Hill creative writing professor Pam Durban steps up to that challenge in her new novel, “The Tree of Forgetfulness.” (April 7, 11)
The recent temporary closings of the Hatteras Ferry and coastal Highway 12 remind us that our coast is fragile and unstable. How do we protect it? In “The Battle for North Carolina’s Coast: Evolutionary History, Present Crisis, and Vision for the Future,” retired East Carolina professor Stanley Riggs and his coauthors give the background we need to make good decisions. (April 14, 18)
Vicki Lane sets her popular novels on the farms and small towns in mountainous Madison County north of Asheville, where she and her husband have lived since moving there from Tampa, Florida, in 1975. In “Under the Skin,” she turns her mountain surroundings into compelling fiction. (April 21, 25)
The third and final volume of the “Literary Trails of North Carolina” series establishes Georgann Eubanks as the master guide to our state’s literary history. She has already taken us to Murphy and now in “Literary Trails of Eastern North Carolina: A Guidebook,” she takes us from Raleigh through the Coastal Plain all the way to Manteo. (April 28, May 2)
Everyone knows our health care system is in trouble, but UNC Medical School Professor Nortin Hadler is more specific and troubling when he says that conflicts of interest, misrepresentation of clinical trials, hospital price fixing, and massive expenditures for procedures of dubious efficacy point to the need for an overhaul. Who is responsible? Every citizen, says Hadler, has a duty to understand the existing system and to visualize what the outcome of successful reform might look like. Hadler provides a primer and guide to action in “The Citizen Patient: Reforming Health Care for the Sake of the Patient, Not the System.” (May 5, 9)
Do you remember “Big Fish,” the wonderful novel by Daniel Wallace and the movie it inspired? They made us suspend disbelief and go into a magical world of stories and characters. Wallace has done it again in his latest novel, “The Kings and Queens of Roam,” which is full of the magic he uses to draw us into his worlds of imagination. (May 12, 16)
How could one of North Carolina’s most important political leaders be both a progressive champion for education and economic development and, at the same time, the leader of the white supremacy movement in our state? N.C. State Professor Lee Craig wrestles with this challenging question in his new book, “Josephus Daniels: His Life and Times.” (May 19, 23)
In reviewing Duke Professor William Chafe’s “Bill and Hillary,” Jonathan Yardley wrote, about the Clintons, “No personalities in recent history speak more compellingly to the importance of understanding that the personal and the political are inseparable.” Chafe’s detailed study of the relationship between the power couple of all power couples shows how their relationship shaped our history. (May 26, 29)
Watauga County native Sheri Castle’s “The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes” is a guide to finding the best seasonal foods in our region. She organizes her recipes into about 40 chapters, each featuring a different vegetables or fruit.
More about Sheri Castle:
Castle is a popular food writer and cooking teacher who celebrates delicious and healthy home cooked meals made possible by fresh, local, seasonal food. She has packaged that enthusiasm into “The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes.”
Castle’s book has about 40 chapters, each one devoted to one particular fruit or vegetable from apples to zucchini. She suggests that you go to the market without a shopping list, buy what is the most freshly available and tasty, bring it home, consult her book, and find all kinds of ways to prepare your purchase.
Castle entertains her readers with stories about her mountain family and even a song or two. Because I love tomatoes, here are lines she shares from a song by Guy Clark: “Only two things that money can’t buy/That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.”
But tomatoes are not the only stars in Castle’s catalogue of fresh foods. For instance, she gives great advice to overcome two different contradictory ideas about how long to cook snap beans. “At one time, most snap beans were sturdy pole beans with thick, tough pods that required extensive cooking to become edible. However, subjecting the newer stringless varieties to long cooking would dissolve them into a tasteless mess. … If a bean pod is delicate and tender enough to eat raw, it needs quick, gentle cooking. If a bean pod is thick and has strings…, it needs long slow cooking. When you know your bean, you know your cooking method.”
He shuffles down Franklin Street toward lunch with a friend, unnoticed by passers-by because he is not pontificating, gesticulating or shaking his head in the funny fashion that defines Lewis Black.
One of America’s best known stand-up comedians lives in Chapel Hill, but spends barely half the year here because of his live tour and accompanying media calls, hosting gigs, voice over work for animated film and his forthcoming cable TV show.
He is in town this weekend for the annual Carolina Comedy Festival, to which he donates his time and wisdom helping burgeoning UNC student comics launch careers that, hopefully, take off faster than Black’s.
His resume is long, but it really doesn’t get cooking until 2000, the year he was arrested for co-hosting a sort of pornographic bus tour in New York City on the same day President Clinton’s motorcade was taking a similar route.
Stints on the Daily Show and Comedy Central blasted Black’s career into true stardom when he was already past 50. The 1969 UNC graduate still looks younger than his 63 years. Obviously, he gets a kick out of making people laugh.
“I’m very busy and I love everything I do,” Black said, “but I wish it all happened when I had more energy.”
Anyone who has seen Black on stage, either in person or on an HBO special, will dispute that he lacks energy. His raving rants about the “absurdities of life” are brilliant, blue and far from boring. He makes fun of people and things, which are hilarious unless you are a completely humorless way-right winger.
Black is also a rabid Carolina fan and well-aware of the Tar Heels’ place in the Sweet Sixteen. But it would not have been that way if he wasn’t rejected by several Ivy League drama schools and then visited Chapel Hill because his girlfriend’s mother went here.
“One walk on campus and that was it,” said Black, a suburban Maryland native. “I went straight to the admissions office and asked what I had to do. I didn’t even know, or care, whether they had a drama department.”
He had friends at Duke and visited there quite often, and now like most Tar Heel fans he despises the Blue Devils basketball team. “The Duke-Lehigh game was like arriving at the gates of heaven,” he said. “I get as much pleasure from them losing as I do from Carolina winning.”
Black has written three books since 2005, all while nested away in his condo on Franklin Street. This is where he comes for refuge and to help teach kids a few things he learned the hard way. He started out as a playwright, had bit parts in movies and TV shows and finally found his niche standing on stage by himself seeing people bust a gut over his manic, machine-gun delivery.
He’s already played the Durham Performing Arts Center and is scheduled there again in mid-April. Meanwhile, whatever writing he’s here to do has been sidetracked by college basketball.
“I’ve watched more this year than ever,” said Black, relating that he caught the first Carolina-Duke game on satellite TV from his tour bus. He missed the second because he had a show that night in Sarasota, Florida.
Marquette is his second favorite team, stemming ironically from the Warriors’ 1977 win over Carolina in the NCAA Championship game and some fond memories of times spent in Milwaukee ever since. He said he knew the Tar Heels would lose that game when they went to Four Corners midway through the second half.
“Why do coaches do that? They still do it. Syracuse almost lost the other night because they started to hold the ball,” he said. “I don’t understand it, never will understand it. But I still watch as much as I can.”
And rants at the TV, for sure.http://chapelboro.com/columns/sports-notebook/leave-em-laughing-lewis
Will John Edwards someday be the new Newt Gingrich?
Where did this crazy question come from? To get the answer, read on.
First, we should wrestle with the questions political experts have been stuttering over since Gingrich’s stunning upset of Mitt Romney in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary last weekend.
How can a candidate like Gingrich get over the deathblows his campaign suffered in Iowa and New Hampshire?
How can he sidestep the disgrace from the damning condemnation of his colleagues in the House of Representatives who censured him for misconduct 15 years ago?
How can he get around the moral consequences of his conduct in the breakup of two earlier marriages?
How does he get around the lack of support from people who worked with him when he was House speaker?
How does he get around the panic shown by so-called establishment Republicans who believe his nomination for president would lead to a disaster for their party in the fall?
How can these questions be answered? It would be easy to say, simply, that South Carolina voters are different. From John C. Calhoun to Strom Thurmond, South Carolinians have shown a fondness for brilliant, confrontational, no-holds-barred, attack- dog politicians. Newt fit their bill. But what about other states?
Both Calhoun and Thurmond had fans in other states. How about Gingrich? We will begin to find out next week in Florida.
Whatever the results in Florida and elsewhere, Gingrich has shown that time really can heal old wounds in politics. Even the most conservative religious voters in South Carolina showed that they were willing to forgive the sins of a seemingly penitent person.
The South Carolina results show us that, after the passage of time, voters are not bound by earlier judgments about a politician’s sins.
John Edwards may be trying to take advantage of this lesson.
The health problem that was the basis for the delay in his trial is a real one. An irregular heartbeat has bothered Edwards for many years. Still, delay may be part of his trial team’s strategy.
Every delay puts the management of the trial further away from the influence of the zealous investigation and prosecution led by former U.S. Attorney George Holding. He is running for Congress rather than continuing to lead the determined effort to put Edwards in jail.
Greater and greater distance from Holding increases the possibility that less-driven prosecutors will see the benefits of making a deal with Edwards that would free them to concentrate their efforts on getting other criminals off the streets.
Every delay works to distance the minds of potential jurors from the heavy and negative publicity that accompanied Edwards’s downfall. With the passing of time, jurors may be less likely to punish Edwards simply for being the bad person the news stories made him out to be.
Every delay lessens public interest in the case and the strength of any public demand that he be held accountable.
Every delay puts the public’s memory further away from his relevance as a public figure whose extraordinary gifts almost made him a vice president, almost a president.
Thus every delay could increase the chances that Edwards will win an acquittal if the case ultimately goes to trial, or even more likely, that there will be an acceptable plea bargain offer from prosecutors.
Back to our opening question: If Edwards does walk away from his legal troubles, could he, with the passage of time, say 10 years from now, bring his gifts of persuasion and charisma back into the political arena and have some of those who have written him off today declare him to be the new Newt Gingrich?http://chapelboro.com/columns/one-on-one/does-time-heal-all-wounds
“After what he said about our barbecue, he is a dead duck in North Carolina.” A Democrat was celebrating the report that Texas Governor Rick Perry once made a disparaging remark about our favorite food. According to a news report that quoted one of my favorite books, “Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue” by John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg Reed, Perry, when he ate Eastern North Carolina barbecue in 1992, said, “I’ve had road kill that tasted better than that.”
Sure enough, after the North Carolina barbecue road kill story started circulating, Perry’s campaign, which had been sailing along at a pace that made Perry look like the sure nominee, took a nosedive.
The news reports said his debate performance was sub-par. His opponents attacked his decision to require girls in Texas to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus associated with vaginal cancer. They jumped on his advocacy for tuition support for illegal immigrants attending college in Texas. Then Herman Cain crushed him (37 percent to 15) in the Florida straw poll, and Mitt Romney did the same in Michigan (50 percent to 17).
“Don’t mess with Texas,” Perry says. Maybe he will have to learn, “Don’t mess with North Carolinians and their barbecue.”
If he wants some background about the political implications of “messing” with our barbecue, he can talk to our former attorney general and secretary of state, Rufus Edmisten. According to “Holy Smoke,” Edmisten “learned a painful lesson” when he was running for governor more than 25 years ago. At the time, somebody heard him saying, “I’ve eaten enough barbecue. I am not going to eat any more. I’m taking my stand and that is it.”
Today, Edmisten can laugh about his mistake. “Holy Smoke” quotes him, “I’d be eating barbecue three times a day for a solid year, and I got up one night and, in a very, very lax moment—the devil made me do it—I made a horrible statement. I said, ‘I’m through with barbecue.’ Well, you would have thought I made a speech against my mother, against apple pie, cherry pie, the whole mess.”
It was not a joke during the campaign. On September 20, 1983, a Wilmington Morning Star editorial, titled “Swine cooks the Rufus goose” took him to task, “If his opponents have the sense God gave a yam, they will mount Mr. Edmisten on a spit and roast him patiently on hickory coals until he is done, And then they will pick his bones.”
Now, another North Carolina commentator, Jeffrey Weeks, makes a similar suggestion in response to Perry’s “road kill” comment. “If Rick Perry wants to bring his campaign to the Carolinas we, of course, won’t reject him. We’ll welcome him with good ol’ southern hospitality. We’ll even show him how to cook real barbeque, not with a cow (Lord have mercy) but with a pig. And I know just the pig we’ll roast. ‘Governor’ Perry.”
So is Perry’s campaign mortally wounded? Is it “toast”—or, as Weeks suggests, “roast”?
Not so fast.
A couple of weeks ago former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs surprised me with his comments about Perry. Although he declined to speculate about which possible Republican presidential candidate would be easier or harder to beat, he cautioned not to underrate Perry. Gibbs thinks that Perry could be a strong candidate in the general election, notwithstanding his seemingly over-the-top positions on Social Security and North Carolina barbecue.
What Perry has, according to Gibbs, that the other Republican candidates lack, is “that he is comfortable in his boots—like Ronald Reagan.”
If Gibbs is right, Perry will not be thrown off course by his campaign’s recent downturns, and this time next year, he will be a formidable challenger to President Obama.http://chapelboro.com/columns/one-on-one/is-perry-roast-in-north-carolina
Actually, even those who have bought club level licenses from $750 to $2500 per seat (not including the price of the tickets and Rams Club donation) are “out” most of the time, due to the direct September sun. They go inside to the opulent air-conditioned upper and lower club areas to watch the action on the 116 HD TVs. Television dictates starting times, or clearly Carolina would play early season games at night.
I am also wondering if Thorp realizes he has begun the search for Dick Baddour’s successor completely wrong, that major college athletic directors and coaches are rarely hired away from schools by 12-person search committees that publicly screen search firms. They never expose themselves by “applying” for other jobs and never, ever agree to be interviewed by such committees. If you want one of them, you go get him privately.
They are done by the school’s CEO dispatching one or two highly qualified and highly confidential head hunters to bring back the names of candidates that fit the qualifications he gives them. After getting those recommendations, the CEO decides who his first two choices are, has all the pertinent information about their candidacies, including how much it will cost to hire them, and then takes a private meeting with his first choice and offers the job. If No. 1 says no, the meeting never occurred and then comes No. 2. That’s how it is done today, and if Thorp is too naïve or inexperienced to know that, he needs to check with ACC Commissioner John Swofford and other college athletic heavyweights to confirm it.
Already, the public process of interviewing two search firms is ridiculous. Bill Carr, the former athletic director at Florida, is a relic of the business, who is known to find his prospects by using the opinions of other AD’s and coaches rather than his own knowledge or due diligence. Carr supposedly “found” Dr. Kevin White for Duke, when it was more of White finding Duke because he was losing traction at Notre Dame over his hiring, giving a 10-year contract to, and then firing football coach Charlie Weiss. Paying Carr anything to produce names is as silly as UNC handing Chuck Neinas $75,000 in 2006 to tell Baddour that Butch Davis was looking for a college coaching job. I would have done that for 75 cents, it was so well-known.
Todd Turner is a UNC grad, and the former athletic director at N.C. State, Connecticut, Vanderbilt and Washington who might even like a fifth chance at his own school. He is far more connected than Carr and is capable of researching two or three candidates among the dozens of sitting athletic directors who would want one of the best jobs in America. But, if he is selected, can he do it now that his cover has been blown by the UNC committee?
Interestingly, Turner has connections to two men who should be on anyone’s preliminary list. He is friends with veteran South Carolina Athletic Director Eric Hyman, the former UNC football player who worked for Turner at N.C. State and has pulled off tough rebuilding jobs at TCU and USC, and the cousin of VCU’s Norwood Teague, who has been a successful AD for five years and is widely known to covet a return to his alma mater.
Before disbanding, the committee can give Thorp a list of questions and concerns to make sure the person he chooses understands and will embrace the Carolina Culture so we won’t wind up with another Davis debacle. After that, they can all go home for good.
Discussing whether it should be Larry Gallo, Beth Miller or Rick Steinbacher is a monumental waste of their time and energy. Every reasonably knowledgeable person of the situation understands that the next AD here must already have hiring experience, great gravitas and established relationships. Whether the committee “knows” or “feels comfortable” with any of the candidates is totally irrelevant to getting the right person in place.
Do you agree with how the athletic director’s search is being handled?