Rocky Mount Mills Reunion

On October 29, 2016, we’re helping to host a reunion at Rocky Mount Mills. Along with Capitol Broadcasting, we’d like to invite every former worker, their friends, families, and communities to Rocky Mount Mills. We’ll be having conversations about your experiences and memories, and sharing with you some digital exhibits that we’re building to help tell the story of Rocky Mount Mills.   We’ve called this event a reunion to recognize that this is a kind of homecoming for many people.  Some families lived in the mill village and worked in the mill for generations. Others came when the mill integrated in the 1960s and commuted, sometimes from many miles away. We want to share the history we’re uncovering with everyone and hope you’ll share your stories and memories with us too.   On October 29, we’ll be recording conversations for a series we’re calling “Closing Stories.” These oral histories will focus on the last years of Rocky Mount Mills. We particularly...
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Prospect and the Rocky Mount Mills Digital Archive

This week, we’re launching the first iteration of Digital Rocky Mount Mills. This first project phase--an archive of digitized images--uses a digital humanities platform called Prospect to exhibit these materials. Prospect is a free WordPress plugin, developed by the University of North Carolina’s Digital Innovation Lab (DIL). Dr. Michael Newton, the DIL’s technology lead, created Prospect based on DH Press, the lab’s first digital humanities platform. The DIL’s most recent digital humanities project, Digital Loray, makes similar use of Prospect’s ability to convey data correlations and connections and serves as a model for the Rocky Mount Mills Project. Prospect visualizes many types of data but is particularly well-suited to display images, such as the 300 images related to Rocky Mount Mills. We will continue to expand the Rocky Mount Mills Project to include more images and other types of data pending future image digitization and data creation. This archive, like the “Loray Digital Archive,” will emphasize community provided content, and...
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The Civil War Comes to Rocky Mount Mills

In the predawn hours of July 20, 1863, Union troops under the command of Major Ferris Jacobs of the Third New York Cavalry rode into Rocky Mount, North Carolina, intending to destroy the vital railroad bridge across the Tar River. They successfully burned the bridge, before turning their guns and torches to the rest of Rocky Mount. By the time Jacobs’s forces left town, they’d burned a railroad train and the city depot, the local telegraph office, a smaller county-operated bridge across the river, a four-story tall flour mill, Confederate supplies waiting for shipment, cotton bales, and around thirty wagons. In Jacobs’s own words “the destruction of property was large and complete.”  Among the most important of their targets was Rocky Mount Mills. Union  burned the building to the ground, stalling operations for years and changing the course of the mill’s history. Military raids were common throughout the Civil War, but the situation in eastern North Carolina during 1863 meant that...
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Welcome!

In the summer of 2016, we're starting a history project about Rocky Mount Mills, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. We're conducting oral histories in Rocky Mount (you can sign up to talk to us here.) And we're looking through newspapers, letters, employee records, photographs and many other sources in places like the Southern Historical Collection and North Carolina Collection at UNC. Eventually, we'll have lots of information to share here. In the meantime, members of our team will be making frequent posts here. We'll write about our research process and share interesting discoveries with you. And we'll start to tell you a bit more about the people who worked at Rocky Mount Mills during almost two centuries of operation.  Please follow along, and get in touch if you've got comments or questions....
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