W. J. Cash "Mind of the South" Plaque, Charlotte
The bronze plaque is bolted to the building in which W. J. Cash wrote Mind of the South. The border of the plaque and the inscription appear in a lighter bronze color while the background appears much darker. The bolts holding the plaque onto the brick wall of the apartment can be seen in each corner.
NEWSPAPERMAN W. J. CASH / (1901-41) / LIVED HERE 1939-40 / WHILE WRITING HIS CLASSIC BOOK / MIND OF THE SOUTH / PUBLISHED BY ALFRED KNOPF, 1941.
The Frederick Apartments
December 7, 1988
35.231860 , -80.839520 View in Geobrowse
"Frederick Apartments - Charlotte, NC," U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Waymarking.com, (accessed June 30, 2014) Link
"North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame 2010 Inductees: W. J. Cash, Allan Gurganus, Robert Morgan, Walter Hines, Page, Samm-Art Williams (2010)," Internet Archive (accessed June 30, 2014) Link
"Writer W. J. Cash - Charlotte, NC," Signs of History on Waymarking.com, Waymarking.com, (accessed June 30, 2014) Link
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. "The Frederick Apartments" (accessed June 30, 2014) Link
North Carolina Writers' Network. "North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame to Welcome Five New Inductees" (accessed June 30, 2014) Link
The installation of the marker was part of a larger project of the Education Committee of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission. Because no public money was available, the marker was funded by private donations. Committee head Mary Kratt in particular sought donations from sources such as "Raised Right" Book Club, Anita Brown, the Friends of the Public Library, the Cranford Book Club, the Franklin Brown family, Jack Apple, Walter and Elizabeth Klein, and Dan and Mary Lynn Morill.
Wilbur J. Cash was born in Gaffney, South Carolina in 1900. He attended Wake Forest College in the early 1920s, where he became interested in journalism. He held several teaching and writing jobs after graduating, but officially moved to Charlotte in 1937 after accepting the position of associate editor at The Charlotte News. In 1938, he moved to the Frederick Apartments. During the time he lived there, he married his wife and finished his manuscript for The Mind of the South.
The book was published in February of 1941, the same year in which Cash and his wife moved from Charlotte to Chapel Hill. The book was well received and gave him national exposure. The Mind of the South began as an essay with the same title written on the Southern psyche published in 1929. The article caught the attention of publishers Alfred and Blanche Knopf, who asked Cash to expand on his ideas in a book. He spent over ten years working on the manuscript, but finally completed it in July 1940. Influenced by the segregation of society in Charlotte at the time, the work traced the development of Southern culture and way of thinking from the arrival of Europeans to the early 1900s. He argued that Southern views had changed very little over that time and that conflict between the classes of aristocrats, industrialists, and yeoman farmers was greatly reduced because of their shared whiteness, creating a bond that allowed them to dominate blacks. The importance of the book was instantly recognized, receiving positive reviews and remains influential today.
During this time, Cash and his wife went to Mexico City to stay for a year while he wrote a novel. In Mexico City, however, Cash began experiencing physical and emotional ailments and died on July 1, 1941 of an apparent suicide.
The dates for when Cash lived in the apartments appear incorrect as he began living there in 1938.
The square marker is bolted to the right of the main entrance into the Frederick Apartments in Charlotte, North Carolina (515 North Church Street).
The plaque is the only marker on the right side of the entrance, but the left side holds a few others, including one that designates the Frederick Apartments as a building on the National Register of Historic Places.