Robert Inman Returns to Charlotte’s WBTV Channel 3

Robert Inman, former anchor for Charlotte’s WBTV Channel 3, returned to the newsroom this week to talk about his new book, The Governor’s Lady. 20 years later and you’ve still got it, Bob!

“Bob” Inman hosting WBTV’s Newsbreak in 1992

Robert Inman discussing his work in 2013

The Governor’s Lady is available at http://www.blairpub.com and wherever books are sold. Also available as an ebook.

Guest post: Valaida Fullwood, author of “Giving Back,” on what home means to her

I just love guest blog posts from authors. Today, we’re posting a heartfelt reverence to home from Valaida Fullwood, author of Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists (photography by Charles W. Thomas, Jr.).

Giving Back lifts up seldom-celebrated traditions of giving among Americans of African descent. Rarely acknowledged as philanthropy, these centuries-old cultural customs and beliefs nevertheless continue to have an impact on lives and communities. Images and narratives of more than 200 people commemorate the legacy of black philanthropists—from generous donors of wealth to ingenious givers carving a way out of no way. (For just a few examples of this generosity, some of which are mentioned in Giving Back, read this recent article in the New Orleans The Times-Picayune.)

I hope Valaida’s words get you thinking about your home, wherever it may be, and how you can make a big difference there with a little gift this holiday season.

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“No building bears their names. No boardroom displays their portraits. No foundation sustains their legacy. And yet, the philanthropists best known to me are the ones in my family, church and hometown. These are people who showed a profound love for humankind and taught me about giving.”
–Valaida Fullwood, Giving Back: A Tribute to Generations of African American Philanthropists

So much about Giving Back is rooted in Morganton, North Carolina. Though a large share of the book’s stories and photography feature people and places in Charlotte, the city where I now reside, my hometown is without a doubt the book’s epicenter.

Morganton, a hilly prelude to North Carolina’s western mountains, is where I grew up and where my parents still live. My affection runs deep for both the town’s natural beauty and its history and people. It is the place of my father’s birth and where his mother, his mother’s mother, and her mother and all my known paternal ancestors were born, lived and died. But like many daydreaming girls from small towns, I longed for big-city adventures and faraway places all through my childhood and youthful years there.

Only when I left home in pursuit of long-awaited places did I awaken to Morganton’s hold on me. Though this revelation came to light soon after leaving home, it became undeniably clear while writing Giving Back. The close-knit family, wide-ranging networks of friends, nurturing educational environments and shared community values that Morganton provided during my youth shaped me then and also sharpened my sight for a kaleidoscope of opportunities and experiences that were yet to come.

While a high school junior, I was the beneficiary of women at my church who pooled their dollars to give me spending money when I left home to become a foreign exchange student in Bolivia. Their kindness helped provide a yearned-for taste of the world. Upon returning, my appetite for globetrotting had only increased and, as I headed off to Chapel Hill to delve into international studies, family and hometown folks stepped up again. This time, they came bearing graduation gifts, cash slipped in cards, new clothes and advice.

Years prior to high school—in fact, as long as I can remember—I have felt encircled by a community of people looking out for my interests. My memories are filled with Morgantonians fiercely committed to important work, willing to engage in civic causes and selfless in their giving. These influences were strong. And when my sister and I ventured to follow suit with forays into leadership and community service, our efforts were met with encouraging nods and enthusiastic pats on the back. The imprint of such generosity remains with me.

Perhaps it should not have been all that surprising, when decades later the same hometown kindred were there for me yet again. While launching my book project in Charlotte, I was taken aback by unexpected help from home. Childhood friends, former classmates and family were among the first to give, at a time few folks could grasp my vision for the book. Their blind faith, financial gifts and willingness to share personal stories seeded the development of Giving Back.

Of the book’s 60 main narratives and 180 photographs, over three dozen feature people connected to Morganton. Among the project’s donors, more than a dozen hail from home. This trend persisted when I learned Carolyn Sakowski, president of John F. Blair, Publisher, boasts Morganton roots, too, and that our families have shared fond friendships for generations.

My wander-lusting spirit relies on the compass and lessons imparted while coming up in Morganton. In navigating life, it brings comfort. A quick glance at a calendar and I know I left Morganton a long time ago, yet it stays within me. And for certain, it is the heart of my book Giving Back.

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Valaida Fullwood is a project consultant, writer, traveler, and consummate idea whisperer. Her areas of work range widely and center on social innovation, education, and the arts. She is a native North Carolinian and resides in Charlotte. For more information, go to givingbackproject.org.

Charlotte’s own Ghost Lady

Ghost Stories of Charlotte & Mecklenberg CountyThe ghostly hand print of a child appears on a windowpane. A long-dead bootlegger leaves wet footprints on stairs. A pair of haunting eyes keeps watch in a costume shop. Think things like that don’t happen in an active, modern city like Charlotte? Think again!

These things certainly do happen, and they happened to Blair author Stephanie Burt Williams, who published Ghost Stories of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County: Remnants of the Past in a New South with us. Ghost Stories of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County is a collection of twenty chilling tales from the Queen City.  And today we’re happy to share part two of this week’s Halloween blog series: a feature based on a recent interview with Stephanie in Today’s Charlotte Woman.

We’d like to pass on some tips that Stephanie shared with Today’s Charlotte Woman. She says ghosts follow a certain code of conduct, making it easy to spot supernatural activity. Here are a few of the Ghost Lady’s favorite habits to look out for this Halloween:

  1. Ghosts love water. They are prone to turn on faucets and flush toilets to make their presence known.
  2. Ghosts also love electronics. TVs tend to go snowy; radios will change channels; CDs skip to “meaningful songs.” Some experts say the energy drain caused by a ghost in the room affects electronics.
  3. Unlike vampires, ghosts love their reflections. Ghosts are often seen in mirrors, windowpanes, and in the reflection from a TV screen or pool of water.
  4. According to Stephanie, a “weak ghost” can’t completely manifest. Instead of appearing visually, a weak ghost often uses the sense of small to make itself known.
  5. A low-level haunting can also include the use of sound. Stephanie says, “I have experienced a huge crashing sound at a bed and breakfast. It sounded like there was a head-on collision outside the building, but when I ran to look out the window, there was nothing there. When I asked other guests if they heard it, they said no.”
  6. In addition to being attracted to places, ghosts can be attached to people as well. Buildings that have no past history of being haunted may suddenly become hotbeds of paranormal activity after a new set of people move in.

Read the full article from Today’s Charlotte Woman, (October 2010, pages 45-47) here. You can also follow Stephanie’s blog here.

Have you experienced any supernatural activity? We’d love to hear your story–leave us a note in the comments section.

Rick Rothacker, author of Banktown, fills us in on his book tour

Rick Rothacker is touring North Carolina and parts of the Southeast over the next couple of months, and he’s been so kind as to share a little bit about how it’s going. Check out what he has to say below. To see if Rick will be having a signing near you, see the list below or check out our events page.

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Rick Rothacker signs a copy of Banktown for a reader.

Rick Rothacker signs a copy of Banktown for a reader.

The Banktown book tour is off to a great start. It began last week at Park Road Books in Charlotte, where a big group of Charlotte Observer colleagues, friends, and readers came out for the launch party. As a nice surprise, my high school English teacher from Pennsylvania sent flowers. She has an impressive history of turning out writers, including a novelist and an award-winning Washington Post reporter. At the signing, I got some great questions from the crowd and then got to work practicing my signature.

Last night, the tour went to Greensboro, N.C., where another inquisitive group came out at the Friendly Center Barnes & Noble. One question I had was about the future of the banking industry in Charlotte. It’s taken a severe blow, of course, but there are some signs of hope. We looked at this topic in-depth in a recent Observer article.

Next up is a stop in Winston-Salem, followed by a trip to Wilmington and the Triangle and more appearances in Charlotte and Atlanta after that. I hope to see you there.

If you can’t make it – and even if you can – you can also learn more about the book from the media coverage the book has generated in recent weeks. This includes national write-ups and excerpts in the New York Times, fortune.com, and wsj.com, as well as local coverage in the Observer, WFAE, WCNC, WGHP and others. Look for more coverage as the tour continues. The reception for the book has been great so far, and I appreciate everyone’s support.

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Upcoming book signings with Rick Rothacker

Wednesday, September 22 at 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
Friendly Shopping Center
3102 Northline Avenue
Greensboro, NC 27408
Phone: 336-854-4200

Thursday, September 23 at 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
1925 Hampton Inn Court
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Phone: 336-774-0800

Tuesday, September 28 at 7 p.m.
Pomegranate Books
4418 Park Avenue
Wilmington, NC 28403
Phone: 910-452-1107
Web: http://www.pombooks.com

Wednesday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Quail Ridge Books
3522 Wade Ave
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-828-7912
Web: http://www.quailridgebooks.com

Thursday, September 30 at 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
New Hope Commons
5400 New Hope Commons
Durham, NC 27707
Phone: 919-489-3012

Monday, October 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
Town Square at Biltmore Park
33 Town Square Blvd., Suite 100
Asheville, NC 28803
Phone: 828-687-0681

Thursday, October 7 at 7 p.m.
Friends of the Library of Queens University in Charlotte
Sykes Auditorium
Queens University
1900 Selwyn Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28274
Phone: 704-785-7367

Thursday, October 14 at 7 p.m.
Blue Elephant Books
407 West Ponce De Leon Avenue
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone: 404-373-1565
Web: http://www.blueelephantbookshop.com

Saturday, October 16 at 2 p.m.
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Southpark Mall
4345 Barclay Downs Road
Charlotte, NC 28211
Phone: 704-602-9800

Thursday, October 28 at 5 p.m.
The Country Bookshop
140 NW Broad Street
Southern Pines, NC
Phone: 910-692-3211
Web: http://www.thecountrybookshop.biz

Monday, November 1 at 7 p.m.
Gaston County Public Library
1555 East Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC 28054
Phone: 704-868-2164
Web: http://www.glrl.lib.nc.us

Saturday, December 11 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
Forest Acres/Richland Fashion Mall
3400 Forest Drive
Columbia, SC 29204
Phone: 803-787-5600