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North Carolina Room

Special Collections, State & Local history and Archives of NHCPL

William Marion ReavesBill Reaves

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

  • During the 1970s, he worked both as the library clerk and a 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 and other history based agencies, 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, Reaves taught local history at Cape Fear Community College and at the New Hanover County Public Library.

Strength Through Struggle

Bill Reaves spent thirty years compiling information on the history of Wilmington, the Low Counties, 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

Northeast Regional Library
1241 Military Cutoff Road
Wilmington, NC 28405

Pine Valley Library
3802 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28412

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1401 N. Lake Park Boulevard
Carolina Beach, NC 28428

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