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Inaugural Harvey Award to fund UNC project making N.C. history come alive on the web
School of Education is part of the project team

Photo of Robert C. Allen

Robert C. Allen

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Photo of Cheryl Mason Bolick

Cheryl Mason Bolick

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A web-based digital history project will be the inaugural beneficiary of funding from the C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Called “Main Street, Carolina,” the project will capitalize on the University Libraries’ renowned North Carolina Collection and awarding-winning digital publishing initiative, “Documenting the American South,” to enable local organizations, schools and individuals to learn about the character and identity of North Carolina towns over the past century. The annual Harvey Award, endowed by a $2 million commitment from the Harvey family of Kinston, N.C., will provide $75,000 to fund the project, designed to reflect the 2008-2009 academic year competition’s focus on engagement and outreach.

Robert C. Allen, James Logan Godfrey professor of American studies, history and communication studies at UNC, will lead the “Main Street, Carolina” effort.  

The project is a collaboration with the School of Education, the Carolina Digital Library and Archives and the School of Information and Library Science.

Cheryl Mason Bolick, School of Education associate professor of educational technology and social studies education, will direct the educational outreach component of the project. Activities will include writing the educational components of the project, field-testing materials in schools and posting materials online. The goal is to make the project accessible to classes and teachers throughout North Carolina.

Natasha Smith, head of the “Documenting the American South” digitization project in Wilson Library, will lead the library team. Comprised of technology specialists and librarians, this team will plan and implement the digitization of the materials to be included in the digital collection.

“This project is a unique collaboration between scholars in the College of Arts and Sciences, faculty in the School of Education and librarians from the University Libraries and the School of Information and Library Science,” Bolick said. “It builds on a seven-year history of our work together.”

The Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, N.C., and the New Hanover County Public Library in Wilmington, N.C., will participate as external partners in the collaboration. Both will help develop “Main Street, Carolina” and will be the first local organizations in the state to use it in a community project.

“‘Main Street, Carolina,’ brings together scholarly expertise, world-class technological innovation and the resources of a great library to illuminate the history of the state,” Allen said. “It is the kind of project that can only be undertaken at a great research university, and we’re very grateful to the Harvey family for making it possible. Our goal is to make this scholarship, technology and archival treasure available to local organizations across the state to allow them to see and use the history of local communities in new ways.”

“Main Street, Carolina” will be a flexible, user-friendly, web-based platform that will allow local libraries, schools, historical societies, neighborhood and community organizations, heritage and tourism offices, and preservation groups to build densely-layered historical maps of their downtowns. They can add a wide variety of “local” data−historical and contemporary photographs, postcards, newspaper ads and articles, architectural drawings, historical commentary, family papers, and excerpts from oral history interviews−all keyed to and layered on top of the North Carolina Collection’s unparalleled collection of historic city maps.

“Senior citizens and seniors in high school will be able to track the historical and architectural development of their communities and compare the downtown of 1910 with contemporary satellite and map views of the same spaces,” Allen said. “Libraries and local museums can use ‘Main Street, Carolina’ to display unique materials documenting the history of their communities ─artifacts they now might have tucked away in drawers and file cabinets.

“It will help local municipalities, community associations, developers and preservation organizations make the case for preservation, re-development and appropriate re-use of historically important structures. It will provide a vehicle for high school history classes, community colleges, local historians and local libraries to document, re-claim and re-interpret local history.”

The C. Felix Harvey Award to Advance Institutional Priorities is an annual award recognizing exemplary faculty scholarship that reflects one of UNC’s top priorities. Its namesake is C. Felix Harvey, chairman of Harvey Enterprises & Affiliates and founder of the Little Bank Inc., both in Kinston, N.C.

“We wanted this award to be used for real world challenges,” Harvey said, “so the projects were judged based on four factors: creativity, collaboration within and outside the University, applicability to the marketplace, and the degree of adoption.”

In 2007, along with his family, Harvey made the $2 million commitment endowing the prize to acknowledge UNC’s significance to them and the important role Carolina has played in their lives.

Members from five generations of Harveys have earned UNC degrees. These include Felix and Margaret Harvey’s daughters Leigh Harvey McNairy and Sunny Harvey Burrows, sons-in-law John McNairy and Lee Burrows, and several grandchildren.

Felix Harvey graduated in 1943 with a degree in commerce. Now as chairman of Harvey Enterprises & Affiliates, he heads privately-held, family-owned interests ranging from farming and agricultural production supplies to real estate, financial institutions and insurance. It includes L. Harvey and Son Company, the oldest private company still in existence in North Carolina, founded in 1871. Harvey also has served on the corporate boards of five companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Harvey is a community advocate as well as a businessman. He is a lifetime member and supporter of the Salvation Army and served on the City of Kinston Board of Education for 10 years, two as chairman. He founded and headed the Kinston Industrial Development Corporation and was instrumental in the formation of the North Carolina Global TransPark, the effort to create an air-cargo manufacturing park to help boost eastern North Carolina’s economy. His numerous achievement and citizenship awards include induction into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 2001.