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5 Fun Facts About May 16 In North Carolina History

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1. The First Flight from North Carolina Took Place on May 16, 1911
On May 16, 1911, at Huffman Prairie in Dayton, Ohio, pilot and inventor Orville Wright completed the first flight from North Carolina. The flight lasted approximately six minutes, covering a distance of 3.5 miles. Wright had previously conducted similar flights in Ohio and Virginia, but this was his first flight in North Carolina, which would go on to become an important hub for aviation.

2. The First American Woman to Earn a Medical Degree Graduated on May 16, 1850
Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States, graduated from the Geneva Medical College on May 16, 1850. Blackwell went on to establish the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and advocated for better healthcare for women and minorities.

3. The First Rural Free Delivery Mail Route in North Carolina Was Established on May 16, 1899
On May 16, 1899, the first rural free delivery (RFD) mail route in North Carolina was established in the town of Mount Olive. The RFD program, which had been introduced by Postmaster General James A. Gary in 1896, expanded mail delivery to rural areas and proved to be a significant innovation in the history of mail delivery.

4. The First Home Mission Board Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention Was Held on May 16, 1845
On May 16, 1845, the first home mission board meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was held in Augusta, Georgia. The SBC, which had been founded that same year, aimed to promote the spread of the gospel throughout the United States and the world.

5. North Carolina Celebrates National Barbecue Day on May 16
May 16 is also National Barbecue Day, a holiday that in part celebrates North Carolina's rich barbecue tradition. North Carolina is known for its distinctive style of barbecue, which involves smoking whole hogs over hardwood coals and basting the meat with a vinegar-based sauce. Barbecue is a beloved food in North Carolina, and there are numerous festivals and competitions throughout the state dedicated to this culinary art.
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