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ten best

by Jordan Green

Triad historical footnotes

charlton heston at the civil rights march on Washington, 1963 (public domain)

charlton heston marries lydia clarke — 1944

In 1944, the waning days of World War II, a 19-year-old college student named Charlton Heston married Lydia Clarke, an Irish beauty from his acting class, in Greensboro’s Grace Methodist Church on Friendly Avenue. The bride wore “a marvelous violet outfit with a hat covered with violet flowers,” according to Heston’s auto biography,

In the Arena: An Autobiography, and he placed on her finger a $12 wedding ring. That same year, Heston served overseas in the Army Air Force. For a time in 1947 the couple managed a playhouse in Asheville. Heston’s breakthrough role came later, in 1952, with a turn as a circus manager in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth.

khalid sheikh mohammed graduates from nc a&t university — 1986

Yep, the mastermind behind the 9-11 terrorist attacks was an Aggie. Though he was born in Pakistan, Mohammed was educated in North Carolina — first at Chowan College in Murfreesboro before transferring to A&T and graduating in 1986 with a degree in engineering. He was captured by US forces in 2003 and is awaiting trial.

USS HigH Point launched — 1962

The USS High Point was the first of its kind: a US Navy hydrofoil craft built to cruise on its hull like a conventional ship but with submerged nacelles — basically jets — which could lift the vessel above the waterline and hit high speeds. The craft tested in the Puget Sound in 1967 and 1968, was decommissioned and transferred to the Coast Guard in 1975 and now is the property of a private collector who is trying to make her seaworthy again.

a general is born — 1931

As long as we’re on this military kick, let’s celebrate the birth of Gen. Maxwell R. Thurman, which happened in High Point. After graduating NC State, Gen. Thurman had a successful military career, culminating in command of US ground forces in Panama in 1989, but he is perhaps better known for his contribution to the advertising lexicon — it was he who came up with the slogan “Be all you can be,” the Army recruitment slogan from 1980 until 2006.

harry houdini performs in Winston-salem — 1924

Reynolds Auditorium, just six months old, hosted the famed escape artist Harry Houdini as the headliner in a vaudeville touring show. This was years after he had perfected the straightjacket escape and the water-torture routine, around the time he became interested in debunking spiritualists and mystics while searching for a way to contact his departed mother. We know what Freud — one of Houdini’s contemporaries — would say about that. Either way, Houdini died two years later from a punch in the stomach.

confederacy meets for the last time — 1865

Civil War combat didn’t roll through Greensboro — Guilford County, in fact, voted against secession — but the city’s manufacturing helped alleviate the US naval blockade, and in 1865, as the Confederacy crumbled, Jefferson Davis and his staff fled to

Greensboro by train from Danville, Va. Here, while the Davis and his cabinet planned to escape the country in their last meeting, was established the final capital of the Confederate States of America.

“mockingbird” — 1963

“Mock.” “Yeah.” “Ing.” “Yeah.” “Bird.” “Yeah.” “Mock-ing-bird.” You know the song, but you’re probably most familiar with the James Taylor/Carly Simon remake in 1974. But the truth is this chestnut goes all the way back to 1963, courtesy of a soulful duo known as Inez and Charlie Foxx, straight out of Greensboro. Released by Symbol Records, the song hit No. 2 on the US R&B charts that year and No. 7 as a pop single. And now it’s going to be stuck in my head all day.

earl monroe graduates Winstonsalem state university — 1967

Playground basketball legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe — already known as “Black Jesus” in his hometown of Philadelphia — chose to play college ball at Winston-Salem State under Hall of Fame coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines. His senior year he led the Rams in scoring with 41.5 points per game as they won the NCAA Division II Championship and Monroe earned Player of the Year.

the mouth is born in Winstonsalem — 1918

Yep, before moving to Brooklyn, graduating from NYU Law School and becoming one of the most legendary — and loathed — broadcasters in the history for sports, Howard Cosell was born in Winston-Salem to Nellie and Isidore Cohen in 1918. Known for his iconic calling of the 1973 George Foreman- Joe Frazier fight — “Down goes Frazier!” — and coiner of the phrase, “The Bronx is burning,” after the 1977 New York Yankees World Series win, Cosell never shied away from controversy and always told it “like it is.”

flu epidemic makes fortune — 1918

The Great Pandemic of 1918-1919 wiped out as many as 21 million Americans — back then they treated the flu with alcohol or “sunshine and air,” according to the US Department of Health & Human Services website. But for Greensboroan Lunsford Richardson, it was the beginning of an empire. His invention, Vick’s Magic Croup Salve, had been renamed VapoRub in 1912 and it was effective as a treatment for influenza. Sales jumped from $900,000 to $2.9 million before the epidemic subsided.

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