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5 Fun Facts About August 15 In North Carolina History

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1. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was founded on August 15, 1789 as the first public university in the United States. It remained the only public university in the state until the establishment of North Carolina State University in 1887.

2. On August 15, 1898, the Wilmington Race Riot occurred in which a group of white supremacists attacked and killed black residents and overthrew the biracial city government in Wilmington. It remains one of the only known instances of a successful coup d'etat in American history.

3. The Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic byway stretching 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina and Virginia, was officially completed and opened to the public on August 15, 1987 after more than 52 years of construction.

4. On August 15, 1958, North Carolina native and singer-songwriter Nina Simone released her debut album "Little Girl Blue" featuring her hit song "My Baby Just Cares for Me." Simone became known for her distinctive voice and social and political activism through her music.

5. The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro opened on August 15, 1974 and currently houses over 1,800 animals across 500 acres. It is the world's largest natural habitat zoo and features a variety of wildlife species including elephants, gorillas, and polar bears.
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