CARRBORO, N.C. – Legendary North Carolina musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten is being feted by her hometown with her very own day on her upcoming birthday anniversary.
Mayor Barbara Foushee is officially proclaiming Friday, Jan. 5, as “Libba Cotten Day” in Carrboro.
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:
- Community Bike Ride -- Riders meet at 8:15 a.m. Friday, Jan. 5, at the public parking lot at 108 E. Main St. (this is the gravel lot across from Armadillo Grill). The bike ride will travel down the Libba Cotten Bikeway to the mural honoring Elizabeth Cotten at 111 N. Merritt Mill Road . The ride will end at the historical marker on E. Main Street. Thanks to local groups for organizing this ride including the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition, the Bicycle Alliance of Chapel Hill, and The ReCYCLEry NC.
- Gathering at the Historical Marker on E. Main Street - Join Mayor Barbara Foushee, NC Representative Allen Buansi, NC Representative Renée Price, Poet Laureate Liza Wolff-Francis, and community leaders for the reading of a proclamation honoring Elizabeth Cotten at 9 a.m., Friday, Jan. 5. Coffee and breakfast treats will be available.
- Bikeway – Named for Ms. Cotten, the bikeway will be decorated for her birthday. Happy Birthday, Libba!
- Proclamation – Read the complete proclamation at https://www.carrboronc.gov/2630/Proclamations-and-Resolutions
- Freight Train Blues Festival – With partner Music Maker Foundation, the Town of Carrboro is planning its 2024 concert series, which will include free evening concerts featured from May to June at Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St.
We encourage everyone to give her songs a listen! Learn more about Elizabeth Cotten from the following: