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 Thursday, 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:
- 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 N.C. Representatives Allen Buansi and Renée Price, as well as Liza Wolff-Francis, the new poet laureate for Carrboro. Everyone is welcome! Convenient public parking is located at 200 E. Main St. Learn more about the marker 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://www.carrboronc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/12228/Libba-Cotten-Day-2023
- Freight Train Blues Festival – With partner Music Maker Blues Foundation, the Town of Carrboro is planning its 2023 concert series, which will include free evening concerts featured from May 5 to June 23 at Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St.
- Be sure to drop by the Elizabeth Cotten mural today! It's located at 111 N. Merritt Mill Road at the gateway to Carrboro between E. Main and Rosemary streets.
We encourage everyone to give her songs a listen! Learn more about Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten from the following: