Like many things, it grew out of a tragedy. In 2013, a group of faculty at CVCC came together to examine the events and impact of the Miracle of Hickory, the 1944 polio epidemic. The collaborative project was called “Research the Miracle.” Examining the emergency from the perspective of sociology, respiratory therapy, legal (there was a later court case), medicinal, and of course, history, the resulting work offered a comprehensive approach to the biggest event to ever occur in Catawba County. The outcome netted two companion compositions, a book called Polio, Pitchforks and Perseverance: How a North Carolina County Named Catawba Built a ‘Miracle” and the documentary, Miracle: How a North Carolina County Named Catawba Battled Polio and Won, in which seldom seen footage takes viewers inside the emergency hospital during its 9-month existence, and relates the amazing story of a community coming together to battle a terrible viral infection.
From that project came what is now known as Redhawk Publications. Catawba Valley Community College embraced the innovation of a press to publish two types of books. First, as an educational outlet for the community it serves; there is no better place to collect and publish the accumulated knowledge of the area than the local community college. Writers delve into many of the subjects taught on campus in unique and relatable ways. Second, it isn’t much of a leap for instructors to build classroom materials into text book form to simplify and relate important concepts for curriculum study.
Since 2017, when both polio projects were complete, Redhawk Publications asked the community what it wanted to say about itself. Both submissions and sales of the finished product has guided its direction and populated its catalog that now sports over 70 titles, including tailored support books for classroom use. The first milestone was a book that documented the state of the Henry River Mill Village. We See What We Want To See combines the poetry of Tim Peeler and the photography of Clayton Joe Young into a seminal volume about what the village had once been. Looking at both Newton and Hickory with “Then & Now” volumes, photography students also compared the past to the present to tell the story of each city. Working with the City of Hickory to celebrate its sesquicentennial, Hickory: Then & Now recently received an “Award of Excellence” by the North Carolina Society of Historians.
In the span of four years, Redhawk Publications, with the support of college President Garrett D. Hinshaw, has added vastly to the collective knowledge of our area. Old St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention, the Ridgeview Community are all subjects of new books, as well as a wide variety of poetry and a new work on poverty in Appalachia called Prosperity Gospel. This weekend, the publishing arm of CVCC will host a book fair at Catawba Farms in South Newton. You can take your pick of the variety of books and documentaries. The event will include many RP authors from noon until 6pm. Guitarist Vicki Genfan and the CVCC Jazz Ensemble will perform at 4 and 5pm respectively. Find a Christmas present or something for your own entertainment and education. There’s nothing better than living in the talented Catawba Valley. Any book in the Redhawk Publications oeuvre proves that.
Our books are available for perusal at https://redhawkpublications.com . You can find our submission guidelines there as well in case you have a story to tell.