book on Robeson County released
Note: For a description
of each picture, hold your mouse pointer over the image.
Pembroke student Blake Tyner published his first book for national release.
is a pictorial history of the county published by Archadia Publishing
House's "Images of America" series. Containing more than 200
photographs dating back to the early 19th century, the book's list price
Tyner, whose own
collection of historic photos forms the core of the book, surprised
even himself with the quality of the images he assembled.
"I am very
satisfied with this project," he said. "In 'Robeson County,'
the county is well represented by community, race, religion, education,
government, social life and economy."
is the largest and arguably the most colorful county in North Carolina,
further burdening Tyner's research.
"I have about
300 hours of labor and 600 miles of travel in this book," he said.
"I was pleased with what I was able to find in private collections
in local museums and at the State Archives."
Many of the photos
have sparked further interest as research projects for Tyner.
group of pictures I was pleased to obtain from Historic Robeson was
the Ferguson collection," he said. "Her name was actually
Lillian Ferguson, and she was a professional photographer based in Lumberton
from 1900-1920. She is very interesting, and I would like to know more
about her life."
"I am also
very indebted to Steven Edgerton of Raleigh for providing pictures of
Presbyterian Junior College, a minstrel show at the Red Springs Opera
House (now the B.C. Moore Department Store) and a photo of two Red Shirts."
last photo helped solve a long-time debate about whether the Reconstruction-era
political movement, known as the Red Shirts, existed in Robeson County.
collection was C.E. Morrison's, which is housed in the Rowland Museum,"
Tyner said. "Morrison was an agriculture teacher from the Rowland
area, whose pictures depict the every day life of agriculture students."
also contains three outstanding photos of Rosenwald schools in Maxton,
St. Pauls and Lumber Bridge. These were schools for African American
children built with funds from the Sears and Roebuck founder Julius
There is also a
1934 reunion photo of students from Floral College in Maxton, which
was the first college in North Carolina to grant degrees to women.
are lots of stories worth telling in more detail," Tyner said.
"Everybody and every community played a role in Robeson County
The book is the
product of a lifetime of collecting photographs, manuscripts and other
items of historical interest.
"I have always
been around history," the St. Pauls native said. "The main
purpose of this book, other than the preservation and dissemination
of these images, is to spark interest in the study of Robeson County
history and to encourage others to seek out documents, photos, maps,
and other ephemera relating to the county history while it still exists."
"Every 20 years
represents a change in generation, and potentially a great loss of knowledge
of history and its artifacts," he said. "If new generations
of Robesonians are interested in their history and the study of their
proud heritage, then the purpose of this book is fulfilled. Our future
is truly rooted in our past, and preservation of this foundation is
a sacred trust that we must uphold."
this book just coming off the presses, Tyner is looking to the future.
(history Professor) Stephen Berry, was well pleased with this book,
but this is just the beginning," he said.
Tyner plans a pictorial
history of UNCP for his honors thesis at the university and a second
volume on Robeson County.
"I will continue
my quest to tell the entire story of Robeson County," he said.
"Many people were reluctant to contribute photos because they did
not believe their pictures were important enough. We lose too much history
Tyner is an administrative
assistant in UNC Pembroke's Art Department and working on his undergraduate
degree in history at the university.
Tyner is the director of the Maxton Historical Society and curator of
the Robeson County Museum in Lumberton. He is also the author of several
other works, including "Goin' for a Soldier," which won the
North Carolina Society of Historian's Willie Parker Peace award in 2000.
He lives with his
wife Bess in the oldest home in Maxton, Sycamore Grove Hall, where they
are raising their son McKay.
Tyner is working
to establish a larger Robeson County Historical Commission. All proceeds
from the sale of "Robeson County" will be contributed to the
new Historical Commission.
Copies of the book
may be purchased at online booksellers, the UNCP Bookstore or from Tyner
at 910.844.2377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the book can be found at: www.robesoncountyhistory.com.
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