Paul Green Memorial Highway

History of the Quilt


Project Description

Evaluations of Accomplishments

Future Plans for the Project

Proposal Letter

Request to Commissioners

Biographies by Homemakers Clubs

Biographies by Friends of the Library


Paul Green Memorial Highway

When the sixteen Extension Homemakers Clubs, in fall of 1989, were choosing or, selecting the most outstanding historical building subject, or replica in their location for their quilt square, it was a fact that some clubs had more prospects for choice than did others.

The Cedar Grove Extension Homemakers Club, located in a section North of the Cape Fear River near the America's Health Care Center, but across U. S. Highway #421 South, felt there wasn't one single historical building surrounding them for a choice. They could select their church, Cedar Grove A.M.E. Zion, but it wasn't old enough to be a landmark, and certainly was not  one as old as the Campbell House farther down the highway, one the Friendly Club of Buies Creek might choose for their contribution.

Suddenly, the word landmark rang in their ears! Why a landmark could be visible and not visible; if not visible, but of great importance, it was generally marked by a metal marker, erected either by private interests, a historical register, or by a highway to identify a place, a person, or persons.

Yes, there was one, or two, near them, both standing when the quilt project began, but they recently had been removed to permit highway expansion. Each commemorated, perhaps, Harnett's most outstanding literary personality, Paul Eliot Green, who, in his youth lived very nearby.

They would choose a replica of this highway marker, "Paul Green Memorial Highway", reproduce it in the same colors for the top of their quilt square, and add a tribute and below: "Honors: Harnett Farm Boy, 1894 -1981, Author, "The Lost Colony", Creator Symphonic Drama, :World Famous Playwright".

This was it, their one and only square with many a stitch! Hilda Williams, a club member, agreed to embroider half of the inscription if Evelyn .Byrd, Quilt Coordinator, would embroider the other half. It was mutually agreeable, and the club's one square was embroidered and appliquéd in the highway marker colors, green and white.

.A. framed color print of this square was presented to James R. Spence, author and native of Harnett County, now a resident of Winter Park, Florida, on March 22, 1991, at the County Library. Spence spoke at the first ever observance in the world of Paul Green's birthday, (March 17, 1894), sponsored by Friends of the Harnett County Library.

As a matter of record, there is also a marker on the same highway, on the Green farm adjoining the highway, which was placed there by Paul Green's sister, Mary Green Johnson Mrs. Alton Johnson) that reads: Paul Eliot Green, 1894 -1981. Birthplace of the dramatist, novelist, teacher and humanitarian is situated 2.1 miles north. Awarded Pulitzer Prize, 1927. Originator of the Symphonic Drama, of which he wrote 16, including "The Lost Colony". Lifelong champion of racial equality, and implacable foe of militarism and capital punishment. Was North Carolina's Dramatist Laureate.

Written by: Evelyn Byrd

For: Cedar Grove Extension Homemakers Club

Sources of Information: Markers on U. S. Highway #421 South

Program: Friends of Harnett County Library March 21, 1992

Quilt Square: Row 1, Number 5

Embroidery by Hilda Williams and Evelyn Byrd

Hilda Williams of Cedar Grove Extension Homemakers Club

Evelyn Byrd of Summerville Extension Homemakers Club