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N E W P O I N T S T O P O N D E R IN A R E S T L E S S W O R L D ORTH CAROLINA was one of the last states to feel the full effects of the depression, and it was one of the first to enjoy a return to normalcy. Tobacco prices were good in 1937 and brought farmers $154 million.Textile plants had begun to receive orders by the summer of 1938 and many were operating full-time. Although cotton prices were low, food crops were beginning to contribute significantly to farm income as a result of diversification. In cash received from all crops, North Carolina stood third in the nation. Poultry raising, cattle, and dairying were becoming increasinglyimportant. During the first ten months of the year, 120 new industries were established in the state and 68 existing plants were enlarged. The Ecusta Paper Corporation, with threats of war in Europe, moved from France and established a $2 million plant at Brevard primarily to produce cigarette paper but writing paper and other products as well. Altogether these new industries added $10 million annually to the payrolls of the state. Signs of Progress North Carolina could take pride in manyother recent accomplishments. No longer did counties maintain chain gangs using prisoners to work on roads or under contract to privateemployers. Now the state operated the prison system. It also maintained a 58,ooo-mile network of highways, transported more students to school than any other state in the nation, provided free schoolbooks for the elementarygrades, and supported an eight-month school term. Each month 32,000 checkswere sent to persons entitled to old-age assistanceand over 20,000 went to aid dependent children. Provision wasalso made to assist the blind, and Confederate veterans and widows were more generously supported "by a grateful state" than previously, the governor reported. Twenty years after gaining the suffrage, women were taking considerable interest in government. They cast asignificant percentage of the total vote in the 496 25 N 4-97 New Points toPonder state and served in variouscapacitieswith such agencies asthe Board of Charities and Public Welfare, the Board of Agriculture, the State Planning Board, the Industrial Commission, the Rural Electrification Authority, the Committee on Roadside Control and Improvement, the State Board for Vocational Education, the Textbook Commission, and the State Council for National Defense. Women were also represented on the board of directors of the North Carolina Railroad; on the boards of trustees of nearly allof the state institutions of higher education, asylums, hospitals, and correctional institutions; and on assorted study commissions . The state was in the midst of an extensive building program. In some cases it provided 55 percent of the cost, the remainder being covered by a federal grant, frequently under the WorksProgress Administration. In other cases the cost was covered by a bond issue. Among the buildings completed in Raleigh were the Education Building, the State Highway Building, the Supreme Court Building, and the Revenue Building. State hospitals, schools and colleges, and various custodial institutions around the state also were included in this program. On the three campuses of the University of North Carolina some thirty new buildings were constructed. No additional taxeswere levied, and the salestax on food was eliminated. At the same time the state wasable to reduce its bond indebtedness by the payment of over $30 million in 1938. Among the new topics of concern or emphasiswere adult education, public welfare, general health measures including a campaign to eradicate venereal diseases and to encourage birth control, juvenile delinquency, highway safety, and protection against crime. In connection with the latter, the State Bureau of Investigation wasorganized "for the investigation of crime and apprehension of criminals . . . [and] to assist local officials in counties and municipalities." An officers' fund was established for those killed or injured in service. On 2 September 1939 the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was dedicated by President Roosevelt. This was the culmination of activity that had begun forty yearsearlierwhen the AshevilleBoard of Trade organized the Appalachian National Park Association. North Carolina and Tennessee, through legislative generosity and gifts from numerous individuals, notably John D. Rockefeller , acquired and turned over to the United States secretary of the interior 463,000 acres of land at a cost of $12 million. Some federal relief agencies, especially the Civilian Conservation Corps, were involved in laying out roads, camp sites, and picnicareas, and in protecting the land from poachers...


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