Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dr. Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsActing like the depiction of an incessant "white boy", I confess that I had failed to read Maya Angelou's first book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" until this week in preparation for this posting. I can say with honesty that it was an enlightening experience and that I hope to read all of her works in short order. Dr. Angelou and her family were at a party nearby last week (contrary to rampant rumors, Opera was not present) tweaking my interest in her and leading to much research, including reading her first work, and this posting. Although one can't help being aware of Dr. Angelou in today's society, especially living in close proximity, I was uncomfortable addressing her without first attempting to know much more about her. It was a most interesting study and I now have a greater appreciation for this remarkable woman.

With over 30 honorary degrees Dr. Maya Angelou is an adopted citizen of our Salem since 1981 upon accepting the first lifetime Professorship of American Studies at our Wake Forest University.
Dr. Maya Angelou
“Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world spreading her legendary wisdom. Within the rhythm of her poetry and elegance of her prose lies Angelou's unique power to help readers of every orientation span the lines of race and Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.” From Dr. Angelou’s Official Website
Born Marguerite Johnson on April 4th, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. In the South Dr. Angelou experienced the cruelty of racial discrimination as she learned the entrenched faith and values of a traditional Southern African-American family. Dr. Angelou won a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School where at 14 she dropped out to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school giving birth to her only son as few weeks following her graduation. As a young single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and cook, among other endeavors with music, dance, performance, and poetry later becoming her direction.

Selected highlights of her life:

  • 1954 and 1955: Toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess.

  • Studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows.

  • 1957 - Recorded her first album, Calypso Lady.

  • 1958 - Moved to New York, joining the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom.

  • 1960 - Moved to Cairo, Egypt, served as editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer.
  • 1961 - Moved to Ghana, taught at the University of Ghana's School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.
  • Read and studied insatiably, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and the West African language Fanti.
  • 1964 - While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and returned to America to help him build his new Organization of African American Unity. Shortly after her arrival in the United States, Malcolm X was assassinated and the organization dissolved. Soon after X's assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked Dr. Angelou to serve as Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King's assassination, falling on her birthday in 1968, left her devastated.
  • 1969 - With the guidance of her friend, the novelist James Baldwin, she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Published in 1970, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published to international acclaim and enormous popular success. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 best-selling titles.
  • Wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
  • 1977 - Appeared in the landmark television adaptation of Alex Haley's Roots
  • 1993 – Appeared in John Singleton's Poetic Justice
  • 1993 - Composed a poem "On the Pulse of the Morning" and read it at President Clinton’s Presidential inauguration broadcast live around the world.
  • 1996 - Directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta.
  • 2000 - Awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts.
  • 2008 - Composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante.
  • 2008 - Awarded the Lincoln Medal
  • 2010 – Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom along with President George H. W. Bush, business man Warren Buffett and civil rights activist John Lewis
  • Dr. Angelou has received 3 Grammy Awards.
Please enjoy this video of Dr. Angelou's reading of her poem "On the Pulse of the Morning" at Bill Clinton’s Presidential inauguration:

Fall In Salem

Monday, November 29, 2010

Winkler Bakery – 525 South Main

Winkler Bakery – 525 South Main
Walking down Main Street, tempted by the aroma of fresh baking bread, for the sake of my waist, I must fight the enticement to walk through the door of Winkler Bakery. Often, I fail to be successful and must drop in for my favorite mouth watering slab of sugar cake or ginger cookies. Trust me, if you ever taste either you will not be able to resist on your next visit. In fact, you may feel the need to visit simply for another taste.You may be able to purchase similar in other places, but none compare to the real concoctions from Winkler's wood oven.

Thomas Butner was chosen as the new town baker in 1799. Gottlob Krause was hired by Brother Butner to build a structure with bakery below and living quarters for his family on the second floor. Unfortunately for the Church, Brother Baker preferred farming and shoemaking above baking. Church leaders brought Swiss-born Christian Winkler from Pennsylvania. Winkler purchased the dwelling and bakery from Brother Butner in 1807.

Generations of the Winkler family operated the bakery until 1926. The first Winkler family raised six children in their home/bakery. As Brother Winkler’s health failed from asthma his sons operated the bakery. Winkler’s second son, William, took over the business in 1827.

The domed masonry oven is typical of what you would have seen in early Salem. The oven is still heated with split white oak as it has been for over 200 years. Using no modern machinery and all natural ingredients, the period costumed bakers fire the oven, mix dough in manger-like troughs with long wooden paddles as they explain each step to salivating visitors.

Sugar Cake and Cookies
The finished products are for sale from bonneted Sisters wearing long cotton dresses and neat white aprons or men in trousers held by suspenders as they would have been in the 1800’s. Don’t miss the Moravian Sugar Cake, it is to die for! A dense, gooey coffee cake rich with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon is like nothing you have ever tasted in your life. Of course, that is, unless you grew up in our Salem along with me. Cookies, thin cutouts, often laced with ginger in shapes of flowers, stars, leaves, crescent moons, Thanksgiving turkeys, Christmas trees and more. There are oatmeal raisin cookies, cinnamon raisin bars, banana nut bread along with other tempting treats for your taste buds. Paper thin cookies feature ginger, lemon, cranberry-orange, apple, maple, chocolate and other flavors.

Watch this informative video of hisoric interpretations of baking at our Winkler Baker:

Salem Baking Company Moravian Ginger Spice Cookies, 6-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 2)Are you having an attack and can’t get to our Salem? Some of their baked goods are available online. In fact, if you click on the image at the right you can buy cookies NOW!

Visiting Our Salem? Winkler Bakery occupies the heart of our Old Salem Museums & Gardens, a historic village based as it was in the late 1700s and early 1800s. There are 100 acres of restored landscapes, heirloom gardens, 80 preserved buildings, a tavern, a gunsmith shop, and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.

Fall In Salem

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Salem 100 Year Jubilee - 1866

Excerpt from "Old Salem - The Official Guidebook" by Penelope Niven and Cornelia Wright (click on the link to purchase your copy). Visit the official website of Old Salem Museums and Gardens
"The history of the Moravians comes to life at Old Salem. A unique religious group, the Moravians made the town of Salem an oasis of beauty and order in the Carolina back-country. Today in the workshops, homes, and gardens of Old Salem, men and women carry on the daily tasks of living just as they were done in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - crafting beautiful objects, running households and businesses, and  engaging in artistic and musical pursuits. This guide will help you make the most of your visit to Old Salem, one of the most authentic living-history museums in the United States."
Salem 100 Year Jubilee - 1866

They lived then with questions that face us now. They wrestled with the rhetoric of liberty and human rights, and the challenges of ever-increasing religious and ethnic diversity. Like citizens across the country, the people of Salem grappled with pivotal issues: the sometimes bloody quest for freedom; the tensions between a local society and an emerging nation; the national and personal wounds and scars of slavery; the upheaval of change brought on by the expansion of industrialism and capitalism; the dramatic repercussions of war; and the need to live harmoniously in Salem and the world beyond.

God's Acre Salem, NC
In February 1866, the Moravians marked their Jubilee with three days of church services and a procession of 1500 people to the cemetery, God's Acre, where the graves of the first settlers were covered with evergreen crosses. Despite their worries about the postwar economy and a "severance of family ties," they celebrated this "solemn and festive occasion" with gratitude. For a century the Moravians had simultaneously maintained their unique identity and mirrored the struggles and aspirations of their neighbors in Piedmont North Carolina, the South, and the nation.

Fall In Salem

Saturday, November 27, 2010

City of the Arts – 1700’s

Civil War French Horn
Moravians in our early Salem continued their traditions, brought with them from Europe, of using music in their religious ceremonies. Instruments included organs, trombones and voices. Later many other instruments were added. Trombone music was often played on rooftops for many occasions, ensuring that they could be heard for great distances. Bands have played in the streets of Salem on Easter morning for hundreds of years. A legend claims that a group of Native American warriors approaching a Moravian settlement during the French and Indian War left after hearing a trombone choir because they believed it to be the voice of their Great Spirit. Moravians translated their music into Native American languages.

David Tanneberg Organ - 1799
Our Salem Moravians also had a tradition of secular art music including the famed composer Johann Friedrich Peter, a German born in Holland, who immigrated to Bethlehem in 1770. He brought with him copies of compositions by Joseph Haydn, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, Johann Stamitz and C. F. Abel. After living in Bethlehem for a time, Peter moved to Salem founding the Collegium Musicum (in 1786) and collected hundreds of symphonies, anthems and oratorios. During this period Peter composed a number of well-respected instrumental pieces for two violins, two violas and a cello; he also composed sacred anthems like "It Is a Precious Thing" and arias like "The Lord Is in His Holy Temple".

The Moravian Church continued to produce a number of renowned composers into the 19th century, including John Antes as well as Francis F. Hagen, Johann Christian Bechler, Edward W. Leinbach, Simon Peter, David Moritz Michael, Georg Gottfried Müller, Peter Wolle, Jeremiah Dencke and Johannes Herbst. Herbst was also a noted collector whose archives, left to the Salem church after his death, were made public in 1977; these included more than 11,000 pages of content. Salem has gradually become the center for Moravian musical innovation, partially due to the presence of the Moravian Music Foundation.

The Archie K. Davis Center
The Moravian Music Foundation cares for the physical safety of over 10,000 music manuscripts, books, and documents interpreting Moravian and early American musical traditions. Our collections include:
  • One of nine surviving copies of the 1st printing of the Star Spangled Banner
  • A complete set of Civil War band books from the 26th NC Regimental Band
  • The 1789 Six String Quintets of Johann Friedrich Peter, perhaps the earliest chamber music composed in America
  • The only known surviving copy of JCF Bach's Sinfonia in E
  • Sacred vocal works with orchestra accompaniment used by the early Moravian settlers in America
  • A collection of hymnals from the 16th through 21st centuries
That is only the tip of the iceberg! Visit The Moravian Music Foundation Website to learn more.

Fall In Salem

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sweet Potatoes - 529 North Trade

I received a tweet from my niece on Thanksgiving Day, shorty after she tweeted photos of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, as she watched with her three children (one of the highlights of living in New York). She included a link to an article in the New York Times titled Sweet Potatoes Step Out From Under Marshmallows.

With a husband on Wall Street, living on the outskirts of the big city, the New York Times is a must read at her home. It appears that New York, and the rest of the world, might finally be figuring out the great North Carolina secret of Sweet Potatoes. According to the article 47% of the Nations Sweet Potatoes are grown in our North Carolina with many farmers moving from Tobacco to Sweet Potatoes. “Stanley Hughes, a third-generation farmer, has shifted some of his acreage from tobacco to sweet potatoes. This year, he put 28,000 plants in the ground. Next year, he said he would increase that number to 40,000.”

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — After generations of being smothered by a blanket of marshmallows on Thanksgiving and then forgotten for another 11 months, the irrepressible sweet potato is having its moment. American farmers expect to harvest a record two billion pounds this year, almost half of that here in the nation’s most prolific sweet potato state. Sweet potatoes have achieved a status that just a few years ago would have seemed laughable.
They may even be hip. New York Times 11/25/10

It’s about time to feature our own award winning Sweet Potatoes culinary delight. In our Salem we have not only been enjoying Sweet Potatoes in our homes but have our very own very special mouth watering Sweet Potatoes restaurant located at 529 North Trade Street in the Arts District.

Where do I begin? Bubba, Forest Gump and Shrimp come to mind:

This is Gooooooood!!!
I like to begin my meal with Pimento Cheese served with celery and stuff (the stuff is awesome)

Of course then a house salad is in order followed by my favorite Drunken Pork Chops (sorry, I don't have a photo). Twin center cut pork chops with sweet potato cornbread dressing and apple brandy gravy served with the vegetable of the day.

Is your mouth watering?

 Followed up with mouth watering Sweet Potato Pie!

Other Sweet Potato choices for dinner are:
  • Build your own Sweet Potato…with butter and brown sugar.
  • Red and White Fries…Basket of seasoned sweet and white potato French fires. Add bacon, white cheddar or blue cheese crumbles.
  • Sweet and roasted garlic smashed potatoes.
  • Sweet potato corn bread. 
  • Candied sweet potatoes.
  • Mashed sweet potatoes.
Sweet Potato Lunch Choices:
  • Sweet Potato aioli
  • Sweet Potatoes’ Hot Brown – Their version of Kentucky favorite. Sliced turkey with mushrooms and cheddar cheese sauce on a toasted sweet potato biscuit and topped with crumbled bacon. 
  • The “Hansome” – Pan fired county ham on a ‘Big Ole’ Sweet Potato biscuit with Brie and molasses Dijon mustard. 
  • House Salad with julienned sweet potatoes.
I’m done, let's go eat!

Do you desire to know more about Sweet Potatoes? Visit the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.

Fall In Salem

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Catastrophe - 1892

West End Hotel Zinzendorf
R.J. "Dick" Reynolds
In the chilly dawn, Thanksgiving day 1892, R. J. (Dick) Reynolds left his palatial fifth street home with his shotgun and his entourage hiking through the West End forest surrounding the new Hotel Zinzendorf. They were hunting for their Thanksgiving fowl. Dinner promised a festive affair at the Zinzendorf feasting on the results of their successful adventure. Little could they know, before noon, this day would become one of the foulest days in Salem’s history.

As they walked, pushing back brush, their conversations may have involved the July murder of Ellen Smith. Dick was related to the Smith family of Mount Airy and would later marry Katharine Smith, daughter of his cousin. Ellen, a young mulatto maid at the new hotel, was found in the forest thicket behind the Hotel Zinzendorf with a bullet through her heart. (This would be near where the YWCA’s tennis courts are now located). She was 17 and pregnant. Her convicted murderer, also a hotel employee, was in jail awaiting execution by hanging. This murder would, much later, be moralized in the song “Poor Ellen Smith” by the Kingston Trio.

Additional conversation may have centered on the recent visit to the hotel of Adlai Stevenson, Grove Cleveland’s running mate of the Democratic presidential ticket. Papers all over the country reported the gift to Stevenson of “the left hind foot of a graveyard rabbit, a fetish which is said to invariably bring good luck to the possessor.” Stevenson had recently secured all eleven of North Carolina’s electoral votes and defeated Benjamin Harrison and Whitelaw Reid in the national election. Doubtless due to the lucky rabbits foot!

Hotel Zinzendorf Under Construction
An advertisement in May and June of 1892 in the People’s Press of Salem tempted potential guests with “Pure, bracing air, animating and cheerful surroundings, wholesome food properly prepared and temptingly spread, and sweet downy beds that lull to complete bodily rest.” The ad also promised “elevators, electric lights, hot and cold public and private baths on every floor.” The new electric street cars stopped at the front entrance of the 100 room hotel, now the grandest in North Carolina. The Sauratown range and Pilot Mountain could be viewed as the breeze blew through the upper veranda. The ad further promised “the best ventilated, best drained and arranged … in the South” as well as “the most convenient.”

Historic Map (West End and Hotel Zinzendorf bottom center)
This was the “Gay Nineties” just before the financial panic and stock market crash of 1893. The goal of the Zinzendorf developer was to make the Winston area of Salem “one of the finest resort communities in the country”. The lavish hotel was completed in 1891 on a knoll at the head of Fourth Street (one of the highest elevations in Winston). The hotel was later intended to be surrounded by dramatically curving streets, terraced lawns around lavish homes and parks across the hilly terrain. A drawing was published in the October 9, 1890 People’s Press announcing the coming of “a beautiful large four story structure, with broken roofs, Queen Ann style, fitted and furnished in hardwoods, with every accommodation that can add to the comfort of its guests.” On completion in 1891 the grand, 100 room, four story 300 foot long structure was to have ten towers of various sizes and shapes. In addition to the panoramic view of the mountains, the hotel overlooked a huge forest where many of Salem’s leaders hunted wild game.

In the May 1892 People’s Press added another benefit to the list. “Trotting over the hills…you come to the Marienbad and Mystic Parks springs…Too great stress cannot be laid to the mineral waters. They are most valuable, and are daily effecting remarkable cures…On a single day not less than one hundred vehicles filled with people visited them to drink to new health.”

“It was a crisp autumn day with wind,” one of the hunters would recall years later. “We got some wild turkeys and a large number of quail.” The men brought the birds back to the hotel for perpetration as their evening feast. As guest’s made plans for a carriage ride along the elm lined streets of Belgian block the aroma of freshly baked bread filled the kitchen as cooks prepared vegetables and fruit from nearby farms. Milk arrived from the local dairy farm. Hotel manager, E.S. Boswell from the Manhattan Club in New York was known for presenting food “in the daintiest and most appetizing fashion.”

Anticipating the announcement that “Dinner is served” instead the shout rang from the laundry room of FIRE as flames escaped the rear of the innovative, freshly constructed, wood frame hotel covered in wood shingles and boards. The fire raced through the immense structure as the fire companies raced their teams of horses through the cobbled streets. The smoke intensifying in the distance confirmed that a massive fire was in progress.

Guests and people near rushed through the halls removing furniture and fixtures as they ran. Cadets from nearby Davis Military Academy (now the Methodist Children’s Home) plunged into the burning building to rescue guests and possessions. Strong winds whipped the flames helping them devour the wooden frame and cedar shingles. The People’s Press later reported: “Coming down from the center of the roof, in the shape of a V, was the glowing, seething fire. Then, with wonderful rapidity, the flames sped on with wild, fantastic leaps, and ever increasing heat.”

Hotel Zinzendorf Burning
A cheer rose up from the gathering onlookers as the Salem Fire Company’s highly praised “Rough and Ready” steam pumper, pulled by powerful gray horses, arrived on scene. Unfortunately, their enthusiastic effort was in vain as the pressure at the hotel hydrant on this high hill could not throw the water to adequate height. The heat became so intense that it cracked glass windows two blocks away. The whirling wind sucked up burning cinders, ashes, dust and other debris tossing those hundreds of feet. Large pieces of charred shingles were later discovered four and five miles away.

Ruins of the Hotel Zinzendorf
By 1 PM the grand new hotel lay in ruins as onlookers and firemen feasted on an impromptu “picnic on the grounds,” sharing food salvaged from the magnificent dinner-in-the-making rescued from the flames. They gave thanks that no life or adjacent home was lost to the wind driven flames. Col. William A. Blair, one of the early hunters stated that the feast did not include the turkey and quail they bagged. As he put it: “They were cooked all right, but never served.”

Winston-Salem's Historic West End (NC) (Images of America)Disasters and Heroic Rescues of North Carolina: True Stories of Tragedy and Survival (Disasters Series)The People’s Press summarized the cause and effect of the tragedy: “A building composed of most inflammable material, a gasoline stove, carelessness, no water, and there you go!” The loss was covered by insurance but no one stepped forward to rebuild the glorious Zinzendorf following the failing financial markets of 1893.

Fall In Salem

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Little Red Man

Images of Old Salem: Then & Now
Check Out This Book
Found memories of my childhood are jogged as I often observe school classes touring Old Salem. In the late 50’s and early 60’s, as an elementary school student, part of our curriculum was a special day visiting Old Salem. This was, for most, the first time we were immersed in the daily lives of our ancestors. I recall riding a bus (probably one if not the first time), walking through Salem’s streets, having a bag lunch, touring the Wachovia Museum (at that time in the Boys School building), seeing the stage coach (no longer there), sharing a love feast bun and coffee (probably my first coffee) in the basement kitchen of the Single Brothers House. The memory most entrenched in my mind is the tour guides story of “The Little Red Man”. The reason I remember is that it haunted by mind on sleepless nights and tainted my future visits to Salem with the fear of stumbling into “The Little Red Man”.

Single Brothers House
The tour guide shared with us that “The Little Red Man” was killed in a cave-in accident during the construction of the addition to the Single Brothers House in 1786 and was seen often in the building following his death walking up the very halls and stairs we had just transversed. We were told that if we were to visit at night that we may experience a visit from “The Little Red Man”.

I don’t recall if she shared details of who he was, his accidental death or his hauntings. She probably did, I simply don’t remember. Fortunately, the Moravians are meticulous keepers of records and the details of the untimely death of Andeas Kremser on March 26, 1786 and his haunting of the Single Brothers House are available for consideration. I would learn later in life that The Little Red Man is one of the areas oldest and most enduring ghost stories.

The appearances began following the death of shoe maker Andreas while helping his Brethren excavate the foundation for the basement for a new addition to the “Brothers House”.  The Single Brothers House was a communal home and trade school for unwed boys and men of the Salem area similar to the trade guilds of Europe. As Andreas was working late, around midnight, digging, working on his knees, he was crushed by falling red clay.

Rear Basement Entrance to the Single Brothers House
His brothers quickly dug him out, but his injuries were severe. Although conscious when extracted, he died soon after from his injuries. His time of departure was recorded at 2 AM March 26, 1786. Due to the means of his death and his involvement with the community, Brother Andreas Kresmer’s was much mourned by his Brethren. Apparently, Andreas was somewhat of a prankster. Shortly following his death, the frightening activities began. Strange sounds, noises like that of the tapping of a shoemakers hammer, footsteps in the hall and on the stairs were heard in the night along with a short person in a red cape, resembling the one he was wearing the night he died, was seen scurrying through the halls.

Over the years the large building eventually became a home for Widows. Betsy, deaf from an early childhood illness, knew nothing about the ghost or the accident. While visiting her grandmother Betsy ran excitedly in from the garden telling of a little man in a red cape beckoning her with his finger to come play. Once, two gentlemen were being shown around the house and as they were hearing the story of The Little Red Man they came face to face with the ghost. Agreeing to catch the red caped man they lunged for him only to catch nothing but air with the Little Red Man grinning at them from the door.

Sadly, the little red man hasn’t appeared in the building in recent times. Legend says that he made an ill-advised manifestation before a significant member of the community as he was showing an important visitor around the cellar. A minister visited the building and upon hearing the story claimed to be able to get rid of the ghost. After invoking the holy trinity he spoke the words "Little Red Man, go to rest!" The ghost has not been seen since.

The Little Red Man’s final vanishing act inspired archivist and author Richard Starbuck in his Ghosts of Salem and Other Tales to pose an “open question” to his readers in: “whether one should be grateful to the clergyman who exorcised him, or to the electric lights which have driven the shadows from the sub-cellars of the one time Brothers House.”

You will find this tale in North Carolina Legends by Richard Walser, in Burt Callaway and Jennifer Fitzsimmons Triad Hauntings and Richard Starbuck’s Ghosts of Salem and Other Tales.