(24) Social Issues

Opportunities increased for all segments of the population. Swimming—then known as “bathing” ---was a popular means of cooling off during the summer, whether it was at the ocean, a private sound or river resort, or local swimming hole. Baseball was exceedingly popular and teams were established on many levels. A spirited competition was held among community teams, with fierce rivalries forming between neighboring sections. Some of the “Negro” teams were widely known, with the “Quick Steps” of Edenton playing teams throughout Hampton Roads, Virginia and as far away as New York. Edenton’s Hicks Field, built in 1939, stands today as a monument to the Albemarle’s enthusiastic embrace of baseball. Bicycling was a popular sport in addition to a useful means of transportation and every town and community had a bicycle shop. Moving pictures became widely popular during the early twentieth century, with theaters opening in all of the larger towns; by the late 1920s some of the more modern facilities were even “air-cooled.” The most noted entertainment venue was the James Adams Floating Theatre, which traveled the region’s waterways during the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, bringing sophisticated traveling shows to numerous locations. In rural areas, tomato canning clubs begun in the 1910s evolved into home demonstration clubs that provided both a social outlet for women and girls outside of the home and church and disseminated useful information about domestic issues. Four-H and other of clubs for young people organized to provide recreational and outlets as well as educational endeavors. The first Four-H Club in North Carolina was organized in 1909 in Ahoskie as the Corn Club, and by 1940 there were dozens of similar clubs throughout the Albemarle region. Boy and Girl Scout troops were organized in many communities to provide additional educational and recreational activities, the Edenton Boy Scout Troop 2 being the second oldest in the state, organized in the mid-1910s.