Frank Stephenson Jr. and Barbara Mulder will visit City Lights Bookstore on Saturday, April 22nd at 3 p.m. They will present their new book, North Carolina Moonshine: An Illicit History. North Carolina holds a special place in the history of moonshine. For more than three centuries, the illicit home-brew was a way of life. NASCAR emerged from the illegal moonshine trade as drivers such as Junior Johnson, accustomed to running from the law, moved to the racetrack. A host of colorful characters populated the state’s bootlegging arena, like Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, known as the Paul Bunyan of moonshine, and Alvin Sawyer considered the moonshine king of the Great Dismal Swamp. Some law enforcement played a constant cat-and-mouse game to shut down illegal stills, while some just looked the other way.
Barbara Nichols Mulder and Frank Stephenson Jr. are longtime employees of Chowan University in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. Both grew up in rural Hertford County, North Carolina when moonshine was big business and moonshine stills could be found anywhere. While growing up, they heard numerous moonshine stories and knew people who were involved in moonshine one way or another. Their personal experience of and deep appreciation for the rural southern life experience was the catalyst for their writing this book.