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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

How Do You Pronounce "Rocky Mount?"

Posted March 14, 2007 7:26 a.m. EDT

I won't be in Rocky Mount this weekend but I'll be close by and I hope to see a lot of my friends from that fine city. I will be performing in Tarboro at Edgecombe Community College with my Celtic-fusion band Lorica in a special St. Patrick's Day show. Tarboro is pretty easy to pronounce unless you're from Brooklyn. Rocky Mount is another matter.

A viewer left me a voice message the other day saying: "Ya'll folks in the media need to learn how to say Rocky Mount correctly." The caller complained that many newscasters put the wrong emphasis on the two words.

I may be incorrect but I was told early in my career that Rocky Mount is pronounced with equal emphasis on each word.  You say it as if it were just one word instead of two.  The criticism comes when people put extra stress on ROCKY. There's probably a good reason for that. Historian William Powell says the city got its name for the rocky mounds and ledges on the falls of the Tar River.

I should probably call famous Rocky Mount native Tom Suiter to get him to weigh in on this but he is asleep as I write this.

Rocky Mount natives? Please settle this debate with your blog entries.