Join author Catherine W. Bishir for an event celebrating her new book, Crafting Lives: African American Artisans in New Bern, North Carolina, 1770-1900 (UNC-Press, 2013).
From the colonial period onward, black artisans in southern cities--thousands of free and enslaved carpenters, coopers, dressmakers, blacksmiths, saddlers, shoemakers, bricklayers, shipwrights, cabinetmakers, tailors, and others--played vital roles in their communities. Yet only a very few black craftspeople have gained popular and scholarly attention. Catherine W. Bishir remedies this oversight by offering an in-depth portrayal of urban African American artisans in the small but important port city of New Bern. In so doing, she highlights the community's often unrecognized importance in the history of nineteenth-century black life.
Drawing upon myriad sources, Bishir brings to life men and women who employed their trade skills, sense of purpose, and community relationships to work for liberty and self-sufficiency, to establish and protect their families, and to assume leadership in churches and associations and in New Bern's dynamic political life during and after the Civil War.
The following speakers will discuss aspects of the publication of the book:
Philippe Lafargue, Acting Director, Tryon Palace (Welcome)
Dr. David C. Dennard, Associate Professor of History and Director of African and African American Studies at East Carolina University
Dr. Jeffrey Crow, former Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
Catherine W. Bishir, Curator of Architectural Records Special Collections at North Carolina State University Libraries and author of Crafting Lives
A book signing and luncheon will follow.
This launch event is free and open to the public and supported in part by a generous gift from The Harold H. Bate Foundation.
Publication of Crafting Lives was supported in part by generous gifts from Jim and Gail Bisbee, Carolyn Moore Bland, Ken and Ellen Chance, Jim Congleton, Empire Properties with Greg Hatem and Andrew Stewart, First Citizens Bank, New Bern with Alex Badger, Bernard George, John and Katherine Haroldson, George and Emily Henson, Bill and Nancy Hollows, Myrick Howard, Joe and Nancy Mansfield, John Robert and Alison Mattocks, Bob and Carol Mattocks, Nelson McDaniel, Champ and E.T. Mitchell, William Price, Swiss Bear, John and Susie Ward, William Smith and Margaret Norris Ward Bequest, and Ben Watford.