From August 30 to October 9 the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room on the third floor of Main Library will host the traveling exhibit, North Carolina in the Great War. Complimenting the exhibit, there will also be a series of programs on the war hosted by history professors from UNC-Charlotte.
The exhibit of ten informational panels and related artifacts is a tribute to the contributions of all North Carolinians during World War I. The contributions include victory acres grown by farmers and thrift gardens grown by children for war bonds to individual heroic efforts in battle.
World War I began with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and his wife on July 28, 1914. The U.S. was reluctant to enter the conflict as the casualties from European armies approached a million by 1916. Although initially a neutral state, President Woodrow Wilson to declare war on Germany in April 1917.
Agriculture was the linchpin of the state’s economy in 1917, and North Carolina farmers fed their fellow citizens and provided crops for the insatiable textile mills and tobacco factories. Women joined the Red Cross, YMCA and Salvation Army to serve as nurses in military hospitals at home and in France. Children grew thrift gardens to earn money to buy war bonds. Industry and individuals united to support the war effort.
North Carolinians served in the major battles of the Western Front in 1918, including with the British Army in intense combat in Belgium and France. They fought in the battles of 2nd Marne, St. Mihiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne, the last major campaign of the war. The U.S. suffered more than 275,000 casualties and more than 50,000 deaths in five months of action in 1918.
The exhibit will travel across North Carolina in 2017 and 2018. Charlotte is one of only fourteen cities that will host the exhibit, so don’t miss your chance to discover and experience the contributions of North Carolinians in World War I.