Bombing & Explosions in Craven County, North Carolina (Fear & Intimidation)

     I posted an article (below) of a bombing that occurred at a church in Vanceboro, NC.  My ancestors and family have resided in New Bern, NC which is 21 miles away from Vanceboro, but both cities are in the boundaries of Craven County.
Seattle Daily Times
November 1, 1965
     A regular reader of my Blog raised the questions: What relevance does this have to your family research and What family of yours was left in New Bern in 1965?  They also felt I was putting out information that was negative and that it seemed as though I am showing a division between the races by not going in further detail.
     My great grandfather Ambrose Cully migrated to Worcester, MA from North Carolina in the late 1880’s, Leaving siblings, parents and many cousins with other surnames. Some resided in other areas of Craven County and at least by 1930 there were no direct line Cully’s on record based on my knowledge residing in New Bern, NC  except for some Willoughby, Carter, Whittington, Godette, Collins, Foreman relatives.
     Regardless of geographical isolation or non-isolation of Havelock, Harlowe, and Carteret, North Carolina our families were affected by the racism and acts of violence that had occurred throughout the state and states.  (Do I need to prove this in order to say that this has any historical meaning to my family?)  Well, much of my family originated and/or lived in North Carolina and still do and they lived in the times of the race struggles, so I say no I don’t have to prove, and yes it most definitely is relative to my ancestors and those still living in those days.  Apparently it was news worthy to be published in a Seattle Newspaper.   The civil rights movement and the things that occurred during this time were not isolated in just a few areas of the South.  This type of fear and intimidation tactics occurred throughout the U.S. So I say again, yes, racism and discrimination did affect my families.
     As a family historian, I believe that it is not only important to know the local history of our ancestors but also to look at other County, City, State and National News that might have relevance to their lives.  When I do my posts, I may not go into great detail as to how the information relates my family, as sometimes in research I may just take note and use the info in a greater context at a later date.
     The article below is one that occurred in New Bern before the bombing of the church in the above article. So, without doing any other research happening in North Carolina, I believe that the *Negro population as a whole were living in the shadow of intimidation and fear.  These bombings most likely were racially motivated.
Seattle Daily Times
January 25, 1965

Then looking through Ancestry online newspapers I find in the Tucson Daily Citizen reporting the same incident with more detail and other bombings in the South

Tucson Daily Citizen
January 25, 1965
Courtesy of
    History is History, be it tragic or triumphant. We all know that racism in America was present and it was blatant. I am not one to be in denial, and I know that the *Negro in America had many advocates of the European Race. This was a struggle for all freedoms and for all of us to live equally with equal access to quality education, housing, medical care, and live with the pursuit of happiness.  “We cannot be free until They are free.” The Fire Next Time-James Baldwin

All of this is relative to me as my Uncle was a National CORE Vice President and trained those going to the South as Freedom Riders.  My father served as President of the NAACP, San Diego Branch, and was a Social Activist during the Civil Rights Movement.  When my father served the NAACP, he received calls threatening his life and of his family.  “May we live through the struggle, and may we all be triumphant.” ~ypm

*We were Negroes in the 60’s.

***Update My Cousin Michaud Robinson informed me that the founders of oscar’s mortuary were Oscar and Grace Becton Dove and not Oscar Godette as was stated in the newspaper articles.  Also Michaud informed me that Oscar is a distant cousin of his. (Thank you Michaud for the info!)

     The history of the Mortuary on the website:  Oscars Mortuary Website

Oscar’s Mortuary, Inc. was founded January 16, 1960 by Oscar Roosevelt Dove and wife, Grace Becton Dove. They founded and operated the business to provide quality service in the field of funeral service to the families served. In the early 60’s Oscar’s involvement in the Civil Rights movement resulted in the Mortuary being targeted by the Klu Klux Klan; crosses were burned and the building was bombed.
His death in 1975 and the Grace’s death in 2010 will not stop their work for it lives on in their children and grandchildren who have followed in their footsteps. The staff has been active in Civil Rights, Voting Drives, Mental Health Association, Senior Citizens Programs, Craven County Hospice, Craven County Planning and Zoning Board, Craven County Outreach Organization, YMCA Board, Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Fundraising Drives, MS Bike Tour and Planning Committee, Habitat for Humanity Board, Meals on Wheels, RCS Board, and hold memberships in the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Neuse-Pamlico Sound Women’s Coalition, Inc., the Funeral Directors and Morticians Association of North Carolina, Inc. and North Carolina Funeral Directors Association, NAACP, Knights of Columbus, Jazz Preservation Society of New Bern, George B. Willis Masonic Lodge, and Zeno Temple Elks Lodge.

Sundays Obituary: Willie Roy Godette

    When studying and researching our family surnames, we find collateral family members that may or not be related, but sometimes will hold the clues to our own families as family sometimes stretches beyond blood lines.
     After adding Willie Roy Godette to my “Yvette’s Family Tree” where I add people that are from the same locale and have the surnames of my family, I was able to attach documents to Roy’s name.  Willie Roy Godette was born on December 8, 1926 and passed away two days after his 83rd birthday on December 10, 2009.
     In the 1930 Census of Township 5, Craven County, North Carolina, Willie is listed as the Grandchild of Issac and Sarah Carter.  Willie’s parents were not listed in the same household at the time.  I went to the Craven County Deeds website and found that Willie’s parents were Mattie J. Carter and Willie D. Godette.
     What I have discovered is that in Willie Roy Godette’s father’s (Willie D.) household in 1920 according to the Census there was a Luviney and Hulda Cully as his father’s nieces.  So without inputting the connecting information on my tree, I know that Willie Roy Godette is a  1st cousin 1x removed to these Cully’s.    Upon further investigation, I will discover who the Cully girls parents were as they are not listed in Willie D. Godette’s household in 1920.  (I have a direct family line of Cully’s, and would like to see if there is a connection. I will do a further investigation of the parties mentioned).
     My hope is that if anyone is tracing Willie Roy Godette’s family line, that this might be helpful.
Willie Roy Godette
     Willie Roy Godette, 83, of 855 Blades Rd., Havelock died Thursday, December 10, 2009 at Whispering Pine Nursing Facility, Fayetteville.

     He served in the U. S. Army during World War 11 and was honorably discharged and was a retiree of NADEP as a motor vehicle operator. 

     The funeral service will be 1:00 PM Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at Piney Grove AME Zion Church with the Rev. Robert Little, officiating. The interment with military honors will be at Hyman Chapel Church Cemetery.

     He is survived by his two sons, Douglas Godette of Atlantic, Highlands, NJ and Danny Carter of Germany; two daughters, Mattie Sidney of Atlantic Highlands, NJ and Nadine Carr of Fayetteville; 13 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

     The family will receive friends at the residence. Viewing will be held Tuesday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM at Oscar’s Mortuary and at the church an hour prior to the service.

Photo courtesy of Bernd Doss