Hickory – The Hickory Community Relations Council (CRC), in partnership with Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC), will host a special event to highlight scenes from the documentaries “Miracle: How a North Carolina County Named Catawba Battled Polio and Won” and “The Untouchables” on Monday, March 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Drendel Auditorium at the SALT Block. This event is free and open to the public.
“Both of the documentaries, produced by CVCC’s Red Hawk Publications, are moments in Hickory’s history when the entire community worked together, no matter their race or socio-economic status, and that is the perspective that the Community Relations Council will focus on during this special event,” said Mandy Pitts Hildebrand, vice chair of the Hickory Community Relations Council. “We are fortunate to have Richard Eller, CVCC’s Historian in Residence, to work with us on putting together an event that will be educational, historical, and inspiring.”
“Miracle” is about how the Hickory community, in 1944, overcame an epidemic of polio, and built a hospital in 54 hours that was open to everyone. “The Untouchables” recounts the incredible story of the 1964 Ridgeview Panthers football team that went undefeated and unscored upon during the season, a feat still in the record books that was about more than football – it brought the entire community together.
In addition, Eller’s students, who will just be getting back from a trip to Selma, will give a recap of their experience and tie it to their thoughts about scenes shown from the “Miracle” and “The Untouchables” documentaries.
“Education is the key to being a fully integrated society,” said Eller. “The priceless stories in the documentaries are from 1944 and 1964, and here we are, 56 years later, still talking about them and learning about ourselves and the community through the lens and viewpoints of tenacious people who were part of miracles.”
A polio survivor who was in the Hickory hospital, along with several Ridgeview Panthers from the 1964 undefeated football team, will be in attendance and part of a panel after scenes from the documentaries are shared with the audience.
After the event, a reception will be held to meet and get to know the heroes of that time.
The City of Hickory Community Relations Council was established in 1963. Although many changes have taken place in the Hickory community since then, promoting diversity and tolerance of others is still the group’s primary focus. The mission of the Community Relations Council is to promote positive relationships within the community through dialogue, education, programs, and resources.