1213 Washington Street.

The one hundred-seventy-first in a series of posts highlighting buildings in East Wilson Historic District, a national historic district located in Wilson, North Carolina. As originally approved, the district encompasses 858 contributing buildings and two contributing structures in a historically African-American section of Wilson. (A significant number have since been lost.) The district was developed between about 1890 to 1940 and includes notable examples of Queen Anne, Bungalow/American Craftsman, and Shotgun-style architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

As described in the nomination form for the East Wilson Historic District, this building is: “ca. 1930; 1 story; Hattie Sims house; bungalow with gable roof and prominent gable-front porch; asbestos veneer; Sims was a tobacco worker.”


In the 1930 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Hattie (c) h 1213 Washington

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1213 Washington, owned and valued at $1500, Hattie Simms, 61, and sister Louvenier Hales, 55. Both worked in “green tobacco & tobacco factory.”

In the 1941 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Simms Hattie (c) tob wkr h 1213 Washington

Hattie Simms died 20 September 1943 at her home at 1213 Washington Street. Per her death certificate, she was 56 years old; was born in Wilson County to Ben Artis and Faribee Barnes; was married to James Simms; worked as a farm laborer; and was buried in Rountree cemetery.

In the 1947 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Hales Louvenia (c) dom h 1213 Washington [Louvenia Hales [or Hayes] died in 1947.]

Wilson Daily Times, 17 December 1949.

In the 1950 census of Wilson, North Carolina: at 1213 Washington Street, railroad mail carrier James M. Artis, 40, and wife Sarah F., 38, cook in domestic service.

James McKinley Artis died 7 April 1961 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 August 1909 in Wilson to Wade Artis and Martha Gardner; was married to Sarah Artis; and lived at 1213 Washington Street. [James Artis’ father Wade Artis was a brother to Hattie Artis Simms and Louvenia Artis Hales.]

Sarah M. Artis died 16 January 1948 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 March 1908 in Gaston, North Carolina, to Walter McClure and Ella Lightner; was a widow; and lived at 1213 Washington. Informant was Marie Everette, 1213 Washington Street.

Wilson Daily Times, 19 December 1984.

Marie Everett inherited 1213 Washington Street from her aunt Sarah McClure Artis. The E emblazoned on the house’s storm door is her touch.

Detail from plat prepared for Marie Everett in 2003. Plat Book 32, page 69, Wilson County Register of Deeds Office.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2022.

Snaps, no. 69: Darden High prom, 1949.

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On 8 June 1999, the Wilson Daily Times published this photograph of Jacobia L. Bulluck and Marie Everette at Darden High School’s 1949 prom. Everett submitted the image.


  • Jacobia L. Bulluck — in the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 412 Viola, owned and valued at $2000; Charles Jones, 61, janitor at Vick School; wife Gertrude, 59, a tobacco factory stemmer; daughter Ruth Plater, 35, divorced, teacher; grandsons Torrey S., 12, and Charles S. Plater, 11; son-in-law Ruel Bullock, 35; daughter Louise, 30; grandsons Jacobia, 7, Robert, 6, Harold, 4, and Rudolph, 7 months; and granddaughter Barbara Jones, 6.
  • Marie Everette

Sankofa: remembering Marie Everett.

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For hundreds of years, the Akan of Ghana and Ivory Coast have used symbols, called adinkra, as visual representations of concepts and aphorisms. Sankofa is often illustrated as a bird looking over its back. Sankofa means, literally, “go back and get it.” Black Wide Awake exists to do just that.

I had never heard of Marie Everett until I read Charles W. McKinney’s excellent Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina. I’m not sure how it is possible that her struggle was so quickly forgotten in Wilson. However, it is never too late to reclaim one’s history. To go back and get it.  So, here is the story of the fight for justice for Everett — a small victory that sent a big message to Wilson’s black community and likely a shudder of premonition through its white one:

On 6 October 1945, 15 year-old Marie Everett took in a movie at the Carolina Theatre in downtown Wilson. (The Carolina admitted black patrons to its balcony.) As Everett stood with friend Julia Armstrong at the concession stand, a cashier yelled at her to get in line. Everett responded that she was not in line and, on the way back to her seat, stuck out her tongue. According to a witness, the cashier grabbed Everett, slapped her and began to choke her. Everett fought back. Somebody called the police, and Everett was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The next day in court, Everett’s charge was upgraded to simple assault. Though this misdemeanor carried a maximum thirty-day sentence and fifty-dollar fine, finding her guilty, the judge upped Everett’s time to three months in county jail. As Wilson’s black elite fretted and dragged their feet, the town’s tiny NAACP chapter swung into action, securing a white lawyer from nearby Tarboro and notifying the national office. In the meantime, Everett was remanded to jail to await a hearing on her appeal. There she sat for four months (though her original sentence had expired) until a court date. Wilson County appointed two attorneys to the prosecution, and one opened with a statement to the jury that the case would “show the n*ggers that the war is over.” Everett was convicted anew, and Judge C.W. Harris, astonishingly, increased her sentence from three to six months, to be served — even more astonishingly — at the women’s prison in Raleigh. (In other words, hard time.) Everett was a minor, though, and the prison refused to admit her. Branch secretary Argie Evans Allen of the Wilson NAACP jumped in again to send word to Thurgood Marshall, head of the organization’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Marshall engaged M. Hugh Thompson, a black lawyer in Durham, who alerted state officials to the shenanigans playing out in Wilson. After intervention by the State Commissioner of Paroles and Governor R. Gregg Cherry, Everett walked out of jail on March 18. She had missed nearly five months of her freshman year of high school.

The Wilson Daily Times, as was its wont, gave Everett’s story short-shrift. However, the Norfolk Journal & Guide, an African-American newspaper serving Tidewater Virginia, stood in the gap. (Contrary to the article’s speculation, there was already a NAACP branch on the ground in Wilson, and it should have been credited with taking bold action to free Everett.)

Norfolk Journal & Guide, 23 March 1946.

Sankofa bird, brass goldweight, 19th century, British Museum.org. For more about the Carolina Theatre, including blueprints showing its separate entrance and ticket booth for African-Americans, see here.