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a youth coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In the late 70s, he was one of 10 men wrongly imprisoned after leading a Wilmington demonstration. A minister in the United Church of Christ, he headed that denomination’s Commission for Racial Justice (1985-93). In 1993, he was appointed as director of the NAACP. Controversy surrounding his leadership and his handling of sexual harassment and discrimination charges led to his dismissal the following year. In 1994-95, he was the director of the Million Man March in Washington. In 1997, he became a Black Muslim and changed his surname from Chavis to Muhammad.
Richard Henderson was a lawyer and Superior Court judge in North Carolina from 1768-1773 and was also a member of the North Carolina State Legislature. He was a pioneer and colonizer in North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky, and organized what became known as the Transylvania Land Company, which made treaties with the Cherokee Indians. Henderson hired Daniel Boone as an advance agent to blaze a trail through the Cumberland Gap. He died in Granville County on Jan. 30, 1785. The town of Henderson was actually named for Richard Henderson’s son, Chief Justice Leonard Henderson, who was an outstanding colonial jurist and native of Henderson.
Ben E. King
Ben E. King, born Benjamin Earl Nelson, is perhaps best known as the singer and co-composer of “Stand by Me,” a U.S. top 10 hit in both 1961 and 1987, and as one of the principal lead singers of the R&B vocal group The Drifters. Nelson was born in Henderson and moved to Harlem at the age of nine. In 1958, he joined a “doo wop” group called The Five Crowns. Later that year, The Drifters’ manager fired the members of the group and replaced them with The Five Crowns, who had performed several engagements with the Drift-
A Guide for Newcomers ers. Nelson co-wrote the first hit by the new version of the Drifters, “There Goes My Baby” (1959). He also sang lead, using his birth name, on “Save the Last Dance for Me”, a song written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman; “Dance With Me;” “This Magic Moment;” “I Count the Tears;” and “Lonely Winds.” King only recorded ten songs with The Drifters. In 1960, he left The Drifters after failing to gain a salary increase and what he felt to be a fairer share of the group’s royalties. At this point, he assumed the more memorable stage name Ben E. King in preparation for a successful solo career. Remaining on Atlantic Records, King scored his first solo hit with the ballad “Spanish Harlem” (1961). “Stand by me” was his next recording. Written by King along with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, “Stand by me” was voted one of the “Songs of the Century” by the Recording Industry Association of America. “Stand by Me,” “There Goes My Baby,” and “Spanish Harlem” were named as three of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll” and were all given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, as well as “Save The Last Dance For Me.” In the summer of 1963, King had a top 30 national hit with “I (Who Have Nothing),” a song that reached the Top 10 on New York’s radio station, WMCA. Currently, King is active in his charitable foundation, the Stand By Me Foundation. He has been a resident of Teaneck, N.J., since the late 1960s.
Sammy Jackson (1937 - April 24, 1995) was an American actor known particularly for his roles reflecting rural life. Born in Henderson, Jackson wished to be an actor and moved to California working as a shipping clerk but was contracted to Warner Brothers where he appeared saying one line in the Andy Griffith film “No Time for Sergeants.” He soon appeared in the syndicated American Civil War drama “Gray Ghost” and
on the Warner Brothers Television series “77 Sunset Strip” starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and opposite James Garner in the TV series, “Maverick.” When Jackson read that Warner Brothers was going to produce a 1964 ABC television sitcom, “No Time for Sergeants,” he wrote directly to Jack Warner saying that he was the best choice for the role and asked Warner to examine a certain “Maverick” episode as proof. Ten days later, Jackson was told to come to the studio to test for the role. Jackson won the role over several actors, including the better-known Will Hutchins, a Warner Brothers Television contract star who formerly played the sympathetic Sugarfoot and also had been in the “No Time for Sergeants” film. With film roles for “hillbillies” drying up, Jackson began working on-air in radio in 1968 while also acting in a number of motion pictures and doing guest roles in television series. In the 1980s, Jackson worked for a radio station in Las Vegas and briefly played non-country music on KMPC, Los Angeles. In 1992, he appeared in the pilot film, “Casino.” Jackson died of heart failure.
Nathaniel Macon was a representative and senator from North Carolina. He was born near Warrenton. Macon attended the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and served in the Revolutionary War. He served in the State Senate and was elected to the first Continental Congress, but declined to serve. He did serve in the second through the 12th Congresses, and was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives for the seventh through the ninth Congresses. Macon left the House when he was elected a Republican senator. He served as a senator from December 1815 through November 1828. He was an unsuccessful candidate for vice president of the United States in 1825. He died at Buck Spring near Macon in Warren County in 1837, where he is buried.
The voice of Broadway actor Frederick B. Owens is more recognizable that his face. The Henderson native has made a successful career of doing voice over work for cartoons and commercials. Owens has starred as a principal member of the cast of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” on Broadway and as Caiaphas in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Owens also has an impressive series of television parts to his credit, including guest roles on “Law & Order: Special Victims’ Unit,” “Ed,” “The Education of Max Bickford,” and “Swift Justice.”
John Penn represented North Carolina at the Continental Congress and was one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. While born in Virginia, he moved to Granville County in 1774, where he established a law practice and soon became a gentleman members of the political community. He was elected to attend the provincial Congress in 1775 and elected to the Continental Congress the same year, where he served until 1780. He declined a judgeship in his native state due to declining health, but returned to the practice of law in his retirement. He died at the age of 48.
Reynolds Price was born in 1933 in the Warren County town of Macon. Price is a novelist, poet, dramatist, essayist and James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University. His first short stories were published in Duke’s student literary periodical, Archive. The well-known Southern author, Eudora Welty, helped Price get his first books published, sending one of his early stories to her own publisher. His books include “Kate Vaiden,” “The Tongues of Angels,” “The Great Circle” and “The Good Priest’s Son,” an account of a 9/11 experience. Price began teaching at Duke shortly see notable page 8
Published on Oct 27, 2013
New to Henderson, Oxford and Warrenton? Visiting Vance, Granville and Warren counties? The Daily Dispatch's Newcomers Guide has all of the i...