North Carolina Sea Grant
Coastwatch Currents

Coastwatch Currents

January 31, 2020 | Chloe Tenn

above: Bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. at Brown Chapel, headquarters for meetings during the Civil Rights movement, Selma, Alabama, photographed by Carol M. Highsmith.

Throughout February, North Carolina participates in Black History month in celebration and remembrance of a notable past. African American history in North Carolina involves songs and struggle, triumph and despair, artistry and achievement.

Black History Month programming within the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources includes a variety of activities that are family-friendly and usually free. Below is a list of events occurring in the coastal and eastern parts of the state. Find out more about the cultural attractions in other regions here.

February. Historic Edenton. Walking Tours. Tours will be on an alternating schedule (Feb. 1 – Harriet Jacobs/Feb. 9 – From Civil War to Civil Rights) offered at 3 p.m. leaving from the Visitor Center. Space is limited; reservations required. Cost is $2.50. Call (252) 482-2637.

April Turner presents Dancing Stories at the Museum of the Cape Fear as one of many Black History Month programs at venues of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Feb. 1. Museum of the Cape Fear, Fayetteville. Dancing Stories. April Turner presents valuable life lessons through stories and teaches dances that symbolize West African traditions and culture. Her presentation has become a local tradition and favorite. 2 p.m. Free.

Feb. 5. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. History for Lunch: Harlem Renaissance Centennial. Marvin T. Jones, Jones and Associates Washington, D.C., will discuss the connection of local communities Winton, Cofield and Ahoskie to the Harlem Renaissance and other comments. 12:15-1 p.m.

Feb. 7. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. Elementary School Day. Black History Month. Atumpan-The Talking Drums will perform, and students will explore history, literature, musical, performing, and visual arts through hands-on activities including dancing and poetry writing. Elizabeth City State University’s planetarium staff will present a mobile program. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Grades K-5.

Feb. 11. N.C. Maritime Museum, Beaufort. Screening of the documentary, “Rescue Men: The Pea Island Lifesavers,” which chronicles the true story of Station 17, the only African American crew serving in the U.S. Lifesaving Service, the predecessor to the U.S. Coast Guard. 2 p.m. Free.

Feb. 15. N.C. Aquarium, Roanoke Island. Freedmen, Surfmen, Heroes. The presentation of the story of the first all-black lifesaving station and precursor to the U.S. Coast Guard. Noon and 2 p.m. Included with admission.

Feb. 18. N.C. Maritime Museum, Southport. Dr. Virginia Littlefield presents, “I Am Only One, but I Am One: Southern African American Schoolteachers and the Struggle for Freedom.” Highlights advancements on the social, political, economic and educational battlefields. Limited space; reservations required. Call (910) 477-5151. 7 p.m. Free.

Feb. 22. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. Middle and High School Day. Harlem Renaissance Centennial Celebration. An immersion experience into art. literature, music and a tour of the “Temperance and Bootlegging: A Nation Under Prohibition” exhibit. An examination of how Prohibition helped the development of jazz and broke racial barriers. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Grades 6-12.

Feb. 22. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. Harlem Renaissance Centennial Celebration. Learn about impacts of the Harlem Renaissance on the 21st century and explore other events—tour “Temperance and Bootlegging: A Nation Under Prohibition,” and settings, like period clothing and photos at a “speakeasy piano bar” circa the 1920s. Enjoy refreshments and children’s activities. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free.

Feb. 22. Museum of the Albemarle, Elizabeth City. Harlem Renaissance Centennial: Evening of Entertainment. A new video, “Underground Railroad in Northeast North Carolina” premieres. Afterward enjoy an evening of 1920s style music, dance, art and poetry and a reception. 6:30 p.m. reception, 7:30 p.m. video. Free.

Feb. 22. Somerset Place State Historic Site, Creswell. Slavery to Freedom in Washington County. Friday tours at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday panel discussion at1 p.m. Program cost $5


adapted from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources press release.

Contact: Fay Mitchell, (919) 814-6655 ; Joe Johnson, (919) 814-6668;



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