RALEIGH -- Governor Roy Cooper has proclaimed February as Black History Month in North Carolina, and to honor and celebrate the rich heritage and culture, struggle and heroism, the State Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is offering a month long list of programming and opportunities.
Our Caroline Blair sat down with Fay Mitchell for an inside glimpse at the resources available to those both young and old.
See below for a full list of Black History Month events, or visit the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources website. (www.ncdcr.gov)
Through June. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. Distant Echoes. This traveling photographic exhibit chronicles the lives and working conditions of black farmers in the U.S. through images of award-winning photographer John Francis Ficara. The plight of the farmers has gone largely unnoticed, but some continue to work the land in spite of decades of prejudice and discrimination. Black farmers are losing land at approximately 1,000 acres a day. The exhibit was organized by the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Free.
Through February. Historic Edenton, Edenton. Harriet Jacobs Walking Tour. Tuesdays through Saturdays only. Hear the amazing tale of Harriet Jacobs, a woman born into slavery in Edenton, who escaped to become a well-known abolitionist and author. As documented in her 1861 autobiography, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” this walking tour shares her story and takes you through downtown Edenton to see many of the sites mentioned in her book. Tours include entry into St. Paul's Church and the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse. 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Fee.
Feb. 12. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. Lecture and Book Signing: Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in World War I. Author Chad Williams will review the central role of African American soldiers in World War I and how they in combination with race activists and ordinary citizens, committed to fighting for democracy at home and abroad. Dr. Williams is associate professor of Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University. 1:30 p.m. Free.
Feb. 18. Somerset Place State Historic Site, Creswell. Black History Lecture: Slave Voices in North Carolina. Personal narratives, poetry and interviews from enslaved North Carolinians will be shared by Linda MacKethan, author and retired English professor, N.C. State University, specializing in Southern and African American literature. The lives of slaves at Somerset Place and Historic Stagville also will be reviewed. Writings of Moses Roper, Harriet Jacobs and George Moses Horton will be among the works examined. Funding provided by the N.C. Humanities Council. The program will be held at Creswell High School. 1 p.m. Free.
Feb. 24. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. African Americans in World War I. Learn about African Americans who served in the Great War, such as Moses Sharp from Hertford County. Follow them through turbulent times abroad and learn what life was like for those at home. Guides will be in the self-guided gallery from 1—4 p.m.
Year Round. Somerset Place, Creswell. A representative state historic site that offers a comprehensive and realistic view of 19th-century life on a large North Carolina plantation. Originally, this unusual plantation included more than 100,000 densely wooded, mainly swampy acres. During its 80 years as an active plantation (1785-1865), hundreds of acres were converted into high yielding fields of rice, corn, oats, wheat, beans, peas, and flax; sophisticated sawmills turned out thousands of feet of lumber. By 1865, Somerset Place was one of the Upper South's largest plantations. Free.
Jan. 28. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. African American Cultural Celebration. Join the statewide kickoff to Black History Month. Named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society, the16thannual day-long African American Cultural Celebration features more than 75 musicians, storytellers, dancers, chefs, historians, playwrights, authors, artists, reenactors, and more. 10:30 a.m. Free.
Though Feb. 12. Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem. 12 x 12: Beverly McIver. Painter Beverly McIver uses her deft hand and rich palette to frankly and intimately portray men in her life, presenting an honest view of relationships with her father, relatives and friends that gives a specific representation of black masculinity. She received a BA from N.C. Central University and the MFA from Pennsylvania State University.
Feb. 4. Museum of the Cape Fear, Fayetteville. Dancing Stories with April C. Turner. Turner uses dances, stories and songs from traditional West African culture to affirm community building concepts such as working together, integrity, and perseverance. The meanings and uses of the songs and dances are demonstrated in a fun, high-energy, inspiring journey. The audience will enjoy being introduced to the West African language, Wolof. 2 p.m. Free.
Feb. 7. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. Time for Tots: Painting Dreams. Children ages three to five will learn about North Carolina artist Minnie Evans and make a “dreamy” artwork to take home. Must be accompanied by an adult. 10 a.m. Fee.
Feb. 8. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. History a la Carte: African Americans and WWI. Although usually relegated to menial labor or service positions, some African Americans did serve in combat units during WWI. Even those who fought with distinction, primarily with French troops, returned home to Jim Crow segregation, lynchings, race riots and a system of racism that was determined to limit their opportunities and suppress their ability to vote. N.C. State University Professor Blair Kelley, presenter. Bring lunch. Noon. Free.
Feb. 11 and 25. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. African American History Highlights Tour. Docent-led tours showcase exhibits in the museum that highlight the contributions of African Americans to North Carolina history. 1:30 p.m. Free.
Feb. 11. Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, Sedalia. Palmer Personalities: Musical Ties to PMI. Meet musical personalities tied to Palmer Memorial Institute—including some of Dr. Brown's famous relatives—at the museum’s second annual Black History Month theatrical tour. Personalities include Nat King Cole, Maria Hawkins Cole, Carol Brice, Walter Booker, Jr., Barbara Logan Cooke, and Roland Hayes. Reservations are still available for the noon tour. Free.
Feb. 15. N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. Livestream Event: African American Life and Culture in North Carolina History. Museum educator Sally Bloom, Curator Earl Ijames and Michelle Lanier, director of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission, will lead the live interactive class from the museum’s exhibit, “The Story of North Carolina.” Learn facts from the past and “meet” people who helped shape the present. The exhibit will be closed for the 10:15-11:15 a.m. event. Register at http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/events/livestream-event/african-american-life-and-culture-nc.
Feb. 17. Historic Stagville, Durham. Stagville Under the Stars. Join Historic Stagville and Morehead Planetarium for African tales about the night sky and peer through telescopes to take a tour of the stars. 6 p.m. Free.
Feb. 18. Historic Stagville, Durham. A Different “Roots” Story: The Cameron People of Alabama, 1844-2014. Duke University professor emeritus Syd Nathans shares the story of slaves who became owners of the plantation they labored on after the Civil War. Stagville Plantation owner Paul Cameron sent the bondsmen to a cotton plantation in Alabama that he purchased in 1844, which they then purchased from him in 1870. 2 p.m. Free.
All Year. Historic Stagville, Durham. The remains of North Carolina's largest pre-Civil War plantation and one of the South's largest. It once belonged to the Bennehan-Cameron family, whose combined holdings totaled approximately 900 slaves and almost 30,000 acres by 1860. Today, Stagville consists of 71 acres, on three tracts and includes the late 18th-century Bennehan House, four rare slave houses, a pre-Revolutionary War farmer's house, a huge timber framed barn built by skilled enslaved craftsmen and the Bennehan family cemetery. Free
Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25. Reed Gold Mine, Midland. Black Gold, Slavery, and Reed Gold Mine. The origins and impact of slavery in the state and at Reed Gold Mine will examine the area’s social and economic environment and how piedmont North Carolina was transformed through the years of backbreaking labor of enslaved men, women and children. 3 p.m. Fee for ages eight and older.
For information call (919) 807-7389. The Division of State Historic Sites and State History Museums are within the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.