Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Slavery on Ocracoke

We have just published our latest monthly Ocracoke Newsletter, a brief history of slavery on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous6:48 AM

    link not working

  2. Sorry about the link. I had typed a comma where it should have been a period (a "dot" in contemporary parlance!). It is working now.

  3. Anonymous8:53 AM

    This is a very interesting story and well-written. Thanks for including Jane and Leonard and their family
    experiences, describing the after-effects of slavery right down to Muzel at 104 years and the present.

  4. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Thank you for a great read. Any article about slavery usually stirs up controversy. You have written a fair, open and honest article that holds much value for the reader. Only by understanding injustices in the past can we prevent them in the future.

    Years ago when I learned of the relationship between Muzel and Kenny Ballance I was touched by the kindness and love that they shared together. Thanks for including them in your writing. If only the world were filled with more people like them.

    Ocracoke is still such a magical place!

  5. Anonymous9:27 AM

    Wonderful story!

  6. Anonymous12:29 PM

    "Ironically, the relaxation of control..." "Interbreeding caused confusion..." Do these editorial comments need footnotes from some 18th century broadsheet? incidentally, I live in a town that historically was a distribution point for plantation products. The train tracks are now gone (rails to trails) but during its hey day the railroad hub in a ghost town north of here was a transitional employer of sorts -- The rail roads employed many an African American as did the Postal Service --There is a book out about the history of the Pullman railroad cars. My point the new industry that moved in to educate the populace --drew upon the available labor force. I can not help but think the early campus buildings were built by the hands of descendants of formerly enslaved African Americans. And yet the 2010 census figures paint a picture of well much the same situation that has existed previously.

  7. Anonymous9:04 PM

    An insightful, thoughtful newsletter, Philip. Thank you.

  8. Anonymous10:53 AM

    I don't think I'll ever get tired of tales of the war and slavery. Thanks for an interesting read.

  9. Anonymous9:44 PM

    What is the story with "Negro Island"? (Which I have seen documented, in some instances, using the more offensive term.)

    This was a small islet north of the Old Creek area, east of Oyster Creek/Gap Point, first appears on 1910 charts

    last appears on 1942 charts

    Just curious about the name, the ephemeral nature of islets being a given.

  10. To the best of my knowledge Negro Island was so named because a black man was hanged there many years ago. That is all I had ever heard. I called Blanche several minutes ago to see if she had any more information. Unfortunately that is all she knew about the origin of the name. However, she remembered walking along the shore many years ago with her papa. At that time the island had mostly washed away, although a remnant was still visible. A large, but dead, oak was still standing. Blanche guessed that was the tree from which the black man was hanged. There may still be evidence of the island. I will check with someone who will know.

    Re. the name (and the spelling): I know that some people list the island with the currently more offensive name...not to be offensive, but in the interest of historical accuracy. I have even had conversations about this with African-American visitors to Ocracoke. Some are offended; others think the traditional name is justified so we don't forget portions of our sometimes disturbing history.

    Keven, by the way, I receive an email notification when you leave a comment, but it doesn't show up on the blog unless I copy and paste it in a comment box. Sometimes I may miss one...but it's not intentional. Maybe you could figure out why your comments are not showing up (??).

  11. Hmmm..we'll have to see if this one comes through OK. If it does, problem solved--script-blocking software was throwing a wrench in the works.

  12. Kevin, comment issue appears to be solved. Thanks.

  13. Anonymous4:08 PM

    I am attempting to determine if a railroad ever existed on the Outer Banks and, if so, the name of it and the names of the town that it connected. Any help you can pro-vide is much appreciated.

  14. Anon 4:08 -- There has never been a railroad on Ocracoke or on any other part of the Outer Banks that I am aware of.