CARRBORO, N.C. – Legendary North Carolina musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten is being feted by her hometown with her very own day on this birthday anniversary.
Mayor Damon Seils is officially proclaiming Wednesday, Jan. 5, as “Libba Cotten Day” in Carrboro.
“Libba Cotten continues to inspire musicians around the world and occupies a special place in Carrboro’s history and our vibrant and enduring local music culture,” Mayor Damon Seils said. “I invite you to join us in this opportunity to celebrate her life and legacy.”
Born on Jan. 5, 1893, Cotten wrote her signature song, “Freight Train,” about the train she could hear from her childhood home on Lloyd Street in Carrboro, North Carolina. Cotten's talents as guitarist and songwriter came to light while she was working in the home of the Seeger family, who encouraged her career as a professional musician. Cotten toured across the country, recording several albums and winning a Grammy Award and a National Heritage Fellowship before her death in 1987.
LIBBA COTTEN DAY Celebrations will include:
- Carrboro Libba Cotten Day Community Ride – Join the community bike ride at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, starting at the Libba Cotten mural at 111 N. Merritt Mill Road. Riders will then bicycle to the NC Historical Marker honoring Ms. Cotten on East Main Street and continue onto the Libba Cotten Bikeway before returning to their starting point back at the mural. Thanks to the ReCYCLEry for organizing this community ride. Masks and social distancing required.
- Reading at the NC Historical Marker – Mayor Damon Seils will read the proclamation declaring Libba Cotten Day in the Town of Carrboro at the site of the NC Historical Marker on East Main Street in Carrboro. The reading will occur just after 9 a.m. Attending the reading will be Ms. Cotten’s great-grandson John W. Evans Jr. and Ansley Herring Wegner of the North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program, NC Office of Archives and History. More about the marker is available at http://www.ncmarkers.com/Markers.aspx?MarkerId=G-129
- Libba Cotten Bikeway – Named for Ms. Cotten, the bikeway will be decorated for her birthday. Happy Birthday, Libba!
- Libba Cotten Day Proclamation – Read the complete proclamation at https://townofcarrboro.org/DocumentCenter/View/10426/Libba-Cotten-Day-2022-
- Freight Train Blues Festival – With partner Music Maker Blues Foundation, the Town of Carrboro announces its 2022 concert series, which will include five evening concerts featured from May 13 to June 10 at Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St. https://musicmaker.org/freight-train-blues-concert-series/
We encourage everyone to give her songs a listen! Learn more about Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten from the following: