Julian Carr (industrialist)

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Julian Carr
Julian Shakespeare Carr (1845-1924).jpg
Born October 12, 1845
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Died April 29, 1924(1924-04-29) (aged 78)
Alma mater University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Occupation Industrialist, philanthropist
Known for Namesake of Carrboro

Julian Shakespeare Carr (October 12, 1845 – April 29, 1924) was a North Carolina industrialist, philanthropist, and white supremacist. He was married to Nannie Carr, with whom he had two daughters (including Eliza Carr) and three sons.

Carr was the son of Chapel Hill merchant and slave owner John W. Carr and Eliza P. Carr, and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His student days were interrupted by service as a private in the Confederacy, serving with the Third North Carolina Cavalry. Later in life, he was known as "General Carr," the rank having been bestowed by the state veterans' association due to his long service in veterans' affairs and generosity toward widows and their children. Carr also supported white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan, spoke favorably of the murder of African Americans that occurred during the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, which he called a "grand and glorious event", and celebrated lynchings.[1][2][3] In 1923, UNC bestowed an honorary degree upon Julian Carr.[4]

After the war, Carr became a partner in the tobacco manufacturing firm W. T. Blackwell and Co. in nearby Durham. His business acumen led to the firm's becoming known worldwide through its recognizable Bull Durham trademark. Carr became one of the state's wealthiest individuals, engaging in successful textile, banking (Durham's First National Bank), railroad, public utility (Electric Lighting Company), and newspaper endeavors.


In 1909, Carr purchased the Alberta Cotton Mill from Thomas F. Lloyd in what was then called West End, North Carolina, by Chapel Hill. In 1913, after agreeing to extend electricity to the town, it was named Carrboro in honor of him.[5][6] In the 1970s, the mill, abandoned for many years, was restored and opened as Carr Mill Mall.


Carr was nominated for Vice President of the United States by delegates from North Carolina (and one from Montana) at the 1900 Democratic National Convention,[7] at which he gave a speech.[8] He served as a delegate himself to the 1912 convention.

Julian Carr also played an essential role in bolstering white supremacy in North Carolina during the era of Jim Crow. He publicly endorsed the Ku Klux Klan, argued that African Americans should not be allowed to vote, and helped promote racial unrest and turmoil in the late-19th century to defeat an interracial "Fusion" political party. Carr helped promote racial strife through his influence in the media, particularly the Raleigh News & Observer, and celebrated the Wilmington Massacre of 1898 where at least 60 black North Carolinians were murdered. In numerous speeches, he suggested that African Americans were better-off enslaved and celebrated violence, even lynching, against black citizens.[1]

At the dedication of the Silent Sam monument to the Confederacy on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, Carr bragged of personally horse-whipping an African American woman "until her skirts hung in shreds" because, according to him, she "publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady" and stated that he found this act a "pleasing duty."[9]


Carr was also instrumental in the founding of Duke University (where the history building on East Campus is named after him). As Trinity College struggled to overcome postwar dependency on uncertain student tuition and church donations, interested Methodist laymen were crucial to its survival. Carr's name first appears in college records signing a note to forestall foreclosure on a mortgage due in 1880. Carr was elected a trustee of Trinity College in 1883, and over the course of the decade acted as benefactor and administrator of the struggling institution that was eventually renamed Duke University. He engineered the selection of John F. Crowell as the institution's new president, and along with Washington Duke won support to remove the school from its rural setting to Durham. The move was made possible by Carr's gift of 62 acres (250,000 m2) of land for the site.

Carr was noted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony for his encouragement of the formation of the Equal Suffrage League of North Carolina: "At this time, when it was far from popular to stand for this cause, Judge Walter Clark, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Gen. Julian S. Carr, Archibald Henderson, Wade Harris and E.K. Graham acted as an Advisory Committee and gave freely of their time and money to help the League."[10]

A long-time advocate for the welfare of Confederate veterans, the "high-private," as he liked to refer to himself, was Commander-in-Chief of North Carolina's United Confederate Veterans. At the 1913 dedication of the Civil War Monument (known as Silent Sam) on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carr gave a speech wherein he credited the Confederate soldiers of having "saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South," and as a consequence, "the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States," after which he ended his speech by relating a personal anecdote of having soon after the war "horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds" in Chapel Hill for having "publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady," and having performed this "pleasing duty" in front of a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers after she sought protection at the university.[11]

General Jule, as he was known, served as the representative for the Methodist Episcopal Church South to the United States Food Administration during World War I.

Carr was instrumental in the Western education of Charles Soong and the financing of Soong's Shanghai Bible-publishing business, who later was active in Sun Yat-Sen's attempts to establish a modern republic in China. Though it is largely forgotten today, Carr was a major financial backer of the Chinese Revolution.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Sturkey, William (October 31, 2017). "Carr was indeed much more than Silent Sam". The Herald-Sun. Retrieved August 22, 2018. 
  2. ^ "Julian Shakespeare Carr – Carr Building". Names in Brick and Stone: Histories from UNC's Built Landscape. Retrieved August 22, 2018. 
  3. ^ Farzan, Antonia Noori (August 21, 2018). "'Silent Sam': A racist Jim Crow-era speech inspired UNC students to topple a Confederate monument on campus". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 22, 2018. 
  4. ^ "Honorary Degrees Awarded by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1799 to present". library.unc.edu. UNC Chapel Hill Libraries. Retrieved August 23, 2018. 
  5. ^ Pope, Kristen (January 24, 2007). "From Mill to Mall". Carrboro Commons. Retrieved August 23, 2018. 
  6. ^ "History of Carrboro". Carrboro, NC - Official Website. Retrieved August 23, 2018. 
  7. ^ The World Almanac and Encyclopedia. Press Publishing Company (The New York World). 1901. p. 131. 
  8. ^ "A DAY OF MANY SPEECHES.; Delegates Have Much to Say About the Candidates for the Vice Presidential Nomination". The New York Times. July 7, 1900. p. 1. 
  9. ^ Coclanis, Peter A. (September 26, 2017). "Julian Carr did wrong, but also a good deal right". The News & Observer. 
  10. ^ Stanton, Elizabeth Cady; Anthony, Susan Brownell; Gage, Matilda Joslyn; Harper, Ida Husted (1922). History of Woman Suffrage: 1900-1920. Fowler & Wells Company. pp. 491, 497. 
  11. ^ "Unveiling of Confederate Monument at University". The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. Retrieved August 23, 2018. Julian Shakespeare Carr Papers, 1892-1923. Folder 26: Addresses, 1912-1914: Scan 93 through Scan 112 

Further reading[edit]

  • Webb, Mena. Jule Carr: General Without an Army (Chapel Hill, 1987).

External links[edit]