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Robert Mason


Newspaper Days

Spring 2002 | Criticism

Louis Rubin should have been with us. One year short of Street's magic dozen, 1946—57, he abandoned journalism to earn distinction at Hollins College and then the University of North Carolina as a teacher, critic, author, publisher, and foremost authority on Southern literature. He had qualified for academia between press stints by earning a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University and engaging in literary assignments at the University of Pennsylvania.


Surviving the Blue Killer, 1918

It was not only mistaken but thoughtless, Mother would say ever afterward, for The Baby's death to be remembered as the town's first of the 1918 influenza pandemic. That sadness occurred on February 6, which was early for even the opening and mildest [...]

City By the Chesapeake Bay

Norfolk: The First Four Centuries. By Thomas C. Parramore, with Peter C. Stewart and Tommy L. Bogger. Virginia. $20.00. Sixteen years after Norfolk celebrated its tercentenary, Norfolk: The First Four Centuries, is off the presses and sold out. Act [...]

Where Were You In WWII?

In 1942 I had a new job, an infant daughter, good reason to believe I would not be drafted, an older brother at an overseas Army base, and a bad conscience. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor messed me up for fair. On that Sunday December Seventh [...]

Seeking to Undo Jim Crow

In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in Twentieth-Century Norfolk, Virginia. By Earl Lewis. California. $34.95. When, not so very long ago, a black patriarch died in the Eastern North Carolina town of Tarboro, his body was shipped by tra [...]

The Fall of the House of Bingham

House of Dreams: The Bingham Family of Louisville. By Marie Brenner. Random House. $19.95. Most medium to upper-size American newspapers are survivors of many decades of unruly competition that came down, during the first half of this century, to [...]

The Tarheel Spellbinder

Hard Right: The Rise of Jesse Helms. By Ernest B. Furgurson. Norton. $18.95. Jesse Helms's racism is pretty well taken for granted in North Carolina. His opponents there—a minority in three senatorial elections—are concerned principally with h [...]

His Brother Joe 1914?1964

The food cheered him. Spread across the kitchen table's faded oilcloth and overflowing onto the cabinet counter were fried and baked chicken, ham, and barbecue, and an assortment of vegetables and pickles. The barbecue was homemade: lean pork cooke [...]

Death Chamber Reflections

After the State of North Carolina electrocuted their brother, the Vine sisters drew their curtains. They lived behind them the remainder of their lives, stepping outside only to sweep their yard or buy what was necessary to keep them as they were, [...]

V. Dabney: the Quintessential Virginian

Across The Years: Memories of a Virginian. By Virginius Dabney. Doubleday. $10.00. RED Smith wrote that his brother Art would quit a newspaper job to see a circus. Virginius Dabney, who like the late Art Smith practiced journalism in the era of the [...]