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Mary Tribble dives into an ancestor's story and finds hints of the modern South

Mary Tribble was one of Charlotte’s most prominent event planners — she helped organize everything from the NBA All-Star Game to the Democratic National Convention.

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Photo by Ken Bennett
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Wake Forest University
Mary Tribble

But a few years ago, she went to work for Wake Forest University, where her family has deep ties that go all the way back to the school’s beginnings back in the 1830s.

Tribble took a special interest in Sally Wait, her great-great-great-great grandmother. Sally Wait and her husband, Samuel, founded Wake Forest — he was the school’s first president. But before that, Sally Wait was a young evangelical Christian from Vermont who traveled North Carolina raising money for Baptist causes.

Mary Tribble dove into Wait’s life and wrote a book about it called “Pious Ambitions.”

She learned a lot about her great-great-great-great-grandmother — some good, some bad. And she also found a lot of parallels between the South of nearly 200 years ago and the South of today. What she found was both a window and a mirror.

Show notes

Other music in this episode

  • Lobo Loco, "New Delta Mission"
  • Dee Yan-Key, "Train Journey"
Tommy Tomlinson has hosted the podcast SouthBound for WFAE since 2017. He also does a commentary, On My Mind, which airs every Monday.