North Carolina Inspiration Gallery:
Some of the fellow North Carolinians that have inspired me ... I know there
is more ... North Carolina is a good place to be from ...
Maya Angelou: Born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis and raised in rural
Arkansas, Angelou has lived in North Carolina since the early 1980s, when she
accepted a position as a professor at Wake Forest University. She has had a
distinguished career as a novelist and poet. Among her most famous works
is "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Curtis Brown: An astronaut from Elizabethtown, North Carolina,
Brown led the 1999 Space Shuttle Discovery mission that took the legendary John
Glenn back into space.
Levi Coffin: Born in New Garden, North Carolina to Quaker parents in
1798, Coffin fought against slavery as part of The Underground Railroad.
Adolph Dial: An outspoken advocate for Lumbee tribal heritage, Dial
was a historian, businessman and politician. He wrote what was considered to be
the definitive book on the Lumbee tribe.
Elizabeth Dole: A native of Salisbury, Dole worked for six
different presidents and served as president of the American Red Cross before
being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002. She is also married to Bob Dole, a
former senator and presidential candidate.
Charlie Duke: This native of Charlotte grew up to become an astronaut and one
of only 12 people to ever walk on the surface of the moon!
John Edwards: Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998, this Robbins native has
quickly risen up the ranks in Washington and gained national attention. In early
2003, Edwards launched a campaign for the White House, seeking to become the
fourth North Carolinian in the nation?s history to be elected president.
Sam Ervin: This Morganton native became known nationwide as
"Senator Sam." He served in the U.S. Senate for 20 years, and was the chairman
of the committee investigating the Watergate burglary. He was known for his
folksy charm and his strong moral character.
John Hope Franklin: One of the world's most celebrated historians,
Franklin was born in Oklahoma, but has made North Carolina his home for many
years as a professor at Duke University. The author of From Slavery to Freedom,
a book that helped reshape the way African American history is understood,
Franklin was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 and was appointed
chairman of the President's Initiative on Race in 1997.
Henry Frye: This Greensboro attorney became the first African-American to
serve on the North Carolina Supreme Court in 1983. He served as Chief Justice of
the Court from 1999-2001.
Billy Graham: Perhaps the most famous evangelical preacher in the
world, the Charlotte native has been voted 39 times to a list of the most
admired men in the world. He has advised several presidents and has become
famous for his "crusades" across the globe.
Andrew Jackson: Born in Western North Carolina, Jackson was the 7th
President of the United States. He was known for his staunch defense of the
rights of the people, and also for his frequent parties, which anyone in the
country could attend!
Andrew Johnson: A Raleigh native and former tailor who rose to become
Vice President of the United States, Johnson assumed the presidency after
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. In 1868 he became the first President ever to
Dolley Madison: One of America's most famous First Ladies, this Piedmont,
North Carolina native was the wife of President James Madison. She is known for
originating the annual Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn and also for
saving George Washington's picture and many important state documents from the
White House when it was set on fire in 1814.
Daniel McFadden: This Nobel Prize winning economist teaches at the
University of California at Berkeley now, but he grew up in North Carolina. At
16, McFadden dropped out of high school in Spencer, North Carolina. However, he
went on to ace his college entrance exams and enter the University of Minnesota,
where he studied physics, psychology and economics. He won the 2000 Nobel Prize
in economics for his pioneering work in microeconomics.
John Merrick: Merrick founded North Carolina Mutual and Provident
Insurance Company in Durham in 1898. By 1948, it was the largest African
American owned business in the country.
James K. Polk: Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and
idolized Andrew Jackson. Eventually, he rose to become one of Jackson's aides
and then became President himself. It was during his administration that
California and Oregon became part of the United States.
Terry Sanford: This Laurinburg native had a distinguished political
career, including service as the Governor of North Carolina, a term as a U.S.
Senator, and two presidential campaigns. He was ranked by Harvard University as
one of the top ten governors of the century, and was known for doing what he
felt was right, from standing up for civil rights to opposing the Gulf War.
Michael Smith: An astronaut from Beaufort, North Carolina, Smith perished
on January 28, 1986 when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after launching
from Kennedy Space Center.
Richard Dobbs Spaight: A delegate to the convention that framed the
United States Constitution, this North Carolina native strongly advocated the
state?s adoption of the federal constitution. In 1792, he was elected governor
of North Carolina.
Hugh Williamson: This Pennsylvania born physician settled in North
Carolina and later helped form and signed the federal constitution of the United
States after being appointed as one of North Carolina?s delegates to the
Constitutional Convention in 1787.
Porter: This famed short story writer is better known by his pen name, O. Henry.
Born in Polecat Creek in 1862 and raised in Greensboro, Porter was known for his
surprise endings, such as that in the story "Gift of the Magi."
Thomas Wolfe: Born in Asheville, Wolfe was a noted novelist and author of
books such as "Look Homeward, Angel" and "You Can't Go Home
David Brinkley: A TV news reporter and commentator
from Wilmington, Brinkley was best known for co-hosting the "Huntley-Brinkley
Report" from 1956 to 1970 and later hosting "This Week with David Brinkley".
Howard Cosell: Cosell was a famous sports commentator from
Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was known for freely expressing his opinions
on nearly every topic in sports, and for serving as one of the original hosts of
the television program "Monday Night Football."
Charles Kuralt: An Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist from
Wilmington, Kuralt spent nearly all of his career with CBS news, most notably as
the host of "On The Road" and "Sunday Morning."
Edward R. Murrow: A five-time Emmy winning journalist from Polecat Creek,
North Carolina, Murrow is a member of the Television Hall of Fame. He earned
distinction at CBS news for his TV and radio reporting.
Sam Ragan: Born in Granville County, Ragan has been called North
Carolina's "literary godfather." He is also the man who gave newsman David
Brinkley his start, hiring him as a cub reporter for the Wilmington Star. He was
honored as North Carolina's Poet Laureate in 1982.
Charlie Rose: An Emmy and Peabody award-winning journalist and
interviewer, Rose was born in Henderson, North Carolina. His interview show,
"Charlie Rose," has become a staple of PBS
Clay Aiken: This Raleigh native became a
national singing sensation as he competed for top honors in the television show
?American Idol? in 2003. Aiken came in runner up in the competition, but he did
win a recording contract and his single ?This is the Night? went platinum.
John Coltrane: Born in Hamlet, North Carolina, Coltrane is considered to be
one of the greatest and most innovative jazz musicians of all time.
Rick Dees: This nationally known DJ who hosts his own "Weekly Top 40"
radio show is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina.
Cecil B. DeMille:
DeMille, from Washington, North Carolina, was a famous actor and director of
early films. He is best known for his work on movies such as "The Ten
Commandments" and "The Greatest Show on Earth."
Roberta Flack: This Grammy-winning singer from Black Mountain,
North Carolina, is best known for titles such as "Killing Me Softly with His
Song" and "Set the Night to Music."
Ava Gardner: This famous actress from Smithfield, North Carolina,
received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her many film roles. Some
of her more noted films include "Show Boat," "On the Beach," and "The Sun Also
Andy Griffith: The actor from Mount Airy, North Carolina is famous
for his work on the long running television programs "The Andy Griffith Show"
Thelonious Monk: Born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Monk was a
legendary jazz pianist known for his innovative techniques. He was among a
select group of musicians responsible for the birth of a new form of jazz known
Earl Scruggs: Born and raised in North Carolina's Cleveland County, Earl
Scruggs was just four years old when he picked up his first banjo.
Together with guitarist Lester Flatt and the "Foggy Mountain Boys," he helped
introduce bluegrass music to popular culture in the 1960s through the theme
music to the television show The Beverly Hillbillies and the film Bonnie and
Arthur Smith: Known to country music fans for many years, Smith
created and produced "The Arthur Smith Show." The show ran for 32 years, giving
many up and coming musicians their first exposure to a national audience. A
musician in his own right, Smith composed and recorded "Guitar Boogie", the all
time best selling country music instrumental song.
James Taylor: Born in Boston and raised in Chapel Hill, Taylor was
arguably the most famous singer/songwriter of the 1970s. Known for the
introspective lyrics of songs like ?Carolina in My Mind?, ?Fire and Rain? and
?Sweet Baby James,? Taylor is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the
Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Bob Timberlake: Timberlake is a Lexington, North Carolina artist
who is renowned for his intricate paintings and attention to detail.
Doc Watson: Born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, this musician gained
prominence during the folk music revival of the 1960s. Blind since infancy,
Watson's unique blend of traditional Appalachian, country, blues, gospel
and bluegrass music has earned him five Grammy Awards.
Ben Folds Five: This popular band from Chapel Hill gained fame for songs
such as "Brick," before calling it quits in November of 2000.
This alternative band hails from Raleigh. Among their biggest hits are songs
like "Stone Cold Yesterday" and "'74-'75."
The Embers: A popular Raleigh
beach music band that has been performing hits such as "I Love Beach Music" for
Squirrel Nut Zippers: A Chapel Hill/Efland band with influences
from a variety of styles of music, the Zippers are most famous for songs such as
"Ghost of Stephen Foster."
Dale Earnhardt, Sr.: A native of
Kannapolis, North Carolina, Earnhardt became one of the most popular race car
drivers in NASCAR history. Known to fans as "The Intimidator" for his aggressive
style, Earnhardt won seven Winston Cup Championships. He was killed in a crash
on the last lap of the Daytona 500 race on February 18, 2001.
Jim "Catfish" Hunter: This Perquimans County native gained national fame
as a pitcher for the Kansas City Athletics and the New York Yankees. His
impressive list of wins earned him a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, as well
as the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
Marion Jones: Known to many as "the world's fastest woman," Jones
won 3 gold medals and 2 bronze medals at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, taking
home more track and field medals in a single Olympics than any other female
athlete in history. Jones lives and trains in Wake County.
Michael Jordan: Although he was born in Brooklyn, the man regarded
by many as the greatest basketball player of all time moved to Wilmington, North
Carolina, at a very early age, and spent his childhood there. He later went to
UNC-Chapel Hill, where his team won an NCAA tournament, and then was a part of
two Olympic gold medal teams and 6 NBA championship teams with the Chicago
Charlie "Choo-Choo" Justice: An Asheville native who became a star
football player for the UNC Tar Heels in the late 1940s and then the Washington
Redskins in the 1950s.
Meadowlark Lemon: A native of Wilmington, North Carolina, Lemon
played with the Harlem Globetrotters for 24 years. Affectionately known to many
as the "Clown Prince of Basketball," Lemon was as famous for his comedic skill
on the basketball court as he was for his athletic talent. He later became an
ordained minister and now serves as a preacher in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he
divides his time between his work with youth and with his own basketball team,
the Harlem All-Stars.
Sugar Ray Leonard: This world famous boxer, born in Wilmington, won
an Olympic gold medal and 5 world titles.
Gaylord Perry: This Williamston native and Baseball Hall of Famer
pitched 3,534 strikeouts during his career, playing for teams like the San
Francisco Giants, the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves. Perry won the
prestigious Cy Young Award in 1972 and 1978.
Richard Petty: This Randleman, North Carolina native gained fame as
a NASCAR racing driver. Petty won 7 championships and holds the record for most
consecutive race wins: 10.
and not to forget the Potters of Seagrove, NC ... not too many miles from me
that are an never ending source of artistry from the heart ... and pure
inspiration to me ...
and my absolute favorite ... where my spirit soars and I can truly feel the
hand of God ... The Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina ... I hope you have
a chance to visit them ... you will never be the same again ....