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Richmond Community College awards fall 2021 honors

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You may have seen the story in Wednesday’s newspaper about another big spike in virus cases here in Robeson County, but believe it or not, we’ve been here before – way before, like almost 110 years ago.

Robesonian reporter Chris Stiles has been tracking the number of local pandemics for almost two years now. His reports continue to show that although we have made some gains, this virus is still wreaking havoc in our communities.

Last week I was delving into the history of Robeson County and found that at one point we served as a role model for the country in our public health efforts.

I should back off. You have to know that I like history, or more precisely the historical context. I guess it’s the journalist in me who understands that a single event, regardless of its impact, is made more relevant when presented in context. This is why the reports frequently use historical norms – the moon landing, the 9/11 attacks, etc.

So how serious is this pandemic? This is very serious, especially when you put it in its historical context.

By the turn of the 20th century, the county – but especially North Carolina – was struggling with a number of life-threatening illnesses, including hookworm and typhoid fever.

Both of these diseases were common in emerging agriculture-centric economies such as Robeson County.

In response, the county health movement was born, here in Robeson County.

You may already have known that. There is a historic marker in downtown Lumberton announcing this historic fact to anyone who takes a moment to notice it.

According to information from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the state assumed responsibility for public health in 1877, forming the State Board of Health. Soon after, counties began to organize health councils that included doctors, as well as city leaders such as mayors and county commissioners.

The Robeson County Department of Health “the roots go back to the local board of health that hired Dr. BW Page in 1912,” according to the Department of Cultural Resources. “In Page’s first year, he surveyed 45 schools, inspected 500 rural homes (quarantined 118), vaccinated 525 schoolchildren and held a series of lectures.

As the historical marker indicates, the “United States’ first rural health service” was located at the current location of the Robeson County Courthouse.

Similar to the historic significance of this event that took place 110 years ago next month, Robeson County has no end to the events and issues that have shaped our rich communities and neighborhoods.

Here’s a quick rundown of the things I unearthed during a visit to the Robeson County Library last week.

The following was taken from the pages of the Robesonian Journal:

100 years ago: Saturday January 12, 1922: “The three banking institutions in Lumberton – the National Bank of Lumberton, the First National Bank and the Planters Bank & Trust Co. – are in a strong and healthy state, according to reports made. at the annual meeting of shareholders and directors on Tuesday. While deposits in banks are slightly lower than they were a year ago, deposits at that time… total $ 1,706,832.93. This is considered a good representation of deposits, due to current financial conditions.

50 Years Ago – Saturday January 7, 1972: “Two trees that were on the right side of the Robeson County Courthouse may be felled. The problem is not with the trees… but with the hundreds of birds that come to roost in the trees at night. The noise is deafening, but that’s not really the problem either. The problem is the mess that appears every day under the trees.

25 Years Ago – Saturday January 7, 1997: “Scott Buick-Cadillac-Isuzu Inc. agreed to pay Robeson County $ 850,000 for the Lowes Building on Fayetteville Road.

1 year ago – Saturday, January 9, 2021: Eight more COVID-19 related deaths were reported last week in Robeson County, bringing the county’s pandemic death toll to 157.

Titles like these and many more have helped residents understand the context of this great community.