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North Carolina Room

Special Collections and Archives of NHCPL

William M. ReavesBill Reaves

Bill Reaves was born on June 3, 1934, in Newark, New Jersey, the son of the late Marion William Whitford Reaves and Florence Belle Lynk Reaves. His grandfather, Richard Martin Van Buren Reaves, was a Confederate Veteran. In 1968, Mr. Reaves became a resident of Wilmington, his father's childhood home.

  • During the 1970s, he worked both as a librarian and reporter for the Wilmington Star-News, where he wrote the popular local columns, "Inside Old Wilmington" and "Looking Back." In 1976, during the United States' Bicentennial, he wrote an award-winning series of articles on the history of the Lower Cape Fear.
  • Working with the Historic Wilmington Foundation, he was actively involved in Wilmington's historic preservation movement.
  • In the 1980s, he helped catalog the artifact and image collection of the Cape Fear Museum.
  • He also worked for North Carolina State Historic Sites at Brunswick Town, Fort Fisher and the Town Creek Indian Mound.
  • A popular lecturer, he taught local history at Cape Fear Community College and the New Hanover Public Library.

Strength Through Struggle

Mr. William "Bill" M. Reaves spent thirty years compiling information on the history of Wilmington and southeast North Carolina.


The cover art for Strength Through Struggle by Bill Reaves

  • This book is out of print and is sadly no longer available for purchase through the library.  However, we do have multiple copies available for checkout.
  • Focusing on Wilmington's black community, Strength Through Struggle includes chapters on social life, schools, churches, community affairs, military affairs, political affairs, business affairs, business, labor and agriculture, and contains 100 pages of biographical sketches. The work is 580 pages in length and illustrated with 264 images.
  • The book was funded by grants and donations from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the New Hanover Friends of the Public Library, and Tabitha Hutaff McEachern. Published by the New Hanover County Public Library, 1998.

Main Library & Law Library
201 Chestnut Street
Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone 910-798-6300

Northeast Regional Library
1241 Military Cutoff Road
Wilmington, NC 28405
Phone 910-798-6370

Pine Valley Library
3802 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28412
Phone 910-798-6390

Pleasure Island Library
1401 N. Lake Park Boulevard
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
Phone 910-798-6380

Hours: Monday-Tuesday 9 am - 8 pm
Wednesday-Thursday 9 am - 6 pm
Friday-Saturday 9am - 5 pm
Sunday 1-5 (NC Room Closed)