Healing on the Land

Throughout history, struggles with disease, social and geographic distance, and loss often led to revolutions in medicine, politics, and economics and to the mistreatment of racial and ethnic minorities. These struggles and triumphs have various lessons to teach contemporary audiences navigating the current pandemic and life after COVID-19. In the coming weeks, we will explore some of the ways North Carolinians have endeavored to take on the challenges of health and healing over the course of history. Please join us as we tell our stories of Healing on the Land.

Healing on the Land

 

 

Welcome to our web series, Healing on the Land. Check back weekly for a new installment in this ongoing project.

 

Monèt Marshall, A.yoni Jeffries, and Gabrielle E. W. Carter in Conversation

 

In this video, Historic Stagville hosts Monèt Marshall, A.yoni Jeffries, and Gabrielle E. W. Carter in conversation at Horton Grove. These three Black North Carolina artists discuss how their farming, food, art, history, and music are gateways to healing. Together, they ask how sites of mass slavery, like Stagville, can become sites of healing for Black Americans. Their talk was recorded on the grounds of Horton Grove, the only surviving slave dwellings from the Bennehan and Cameron plantations. Stagville and Horton Grove are among the largest and best documented sites of slavery in North Carolina.  

Historic Stagville preserves the remnants of the one of the largest plantations in North Carolina. By 1860, the Bennehan-Cameron family owned over 30,000 acres of land and enslaved over 900 people. Stagville is dedicated to interpreting the lives, families, culture, and work of these enslaved people and their descendants. Today, the Historic Site includes four original slave dwellings (c. 1851), a massive barn (c. 1860), and a Bennehan family house (c. 1787-1799).

Historic Stagville
Facebook: @Stagville 
 

Speaker Bio(s):

Monèt Noelle Marshall is a director, playwright, actor, curator, cultural organizer, producer, filmmaker and consultant. She is the founding Artistic Director of MOJOAA Performing Arts Company, a Black theater company in Raleigh, NC that centers living Black playwrights of the South. Most recently she has collaborated with African American Policy Forum on Gucci’s Chime for Change zine, Scalawag Magazine, NC Museum of Art, Historic Stagville, City of Raleigh, and Hayti Heritage Center. But above all else, Marshall is most proud of being Robin and Bryan’s daughter.  

A.yoni Jeffries is an Afro-Indigenous singer, songwriter, musician, arts curator, community organizer, and co-founder of Handèwa Farms, an Afro-Indigenous-led hemp-farming co-op in Rougemont. NC. Handèwa means “generational” in Tutelo, the native tongue of Jeffries’s Occaneechi-Saponi tribe. Growing up between Brooklyn, NY, Durham, NC, and Mississauga, Ontario, A.yoni often traveled between states and countries on her own, developing a fierce independence at a young age. As a professional, A.yoni wears many hats, but she treats her ongoing, multidimensional creative life as an opportunity to learn, grow, and connect disparate people, places, and ideas. 

Gabrielle E. W. Carter is an Artist and Cultural Preservationist who uses Diasporic and local food as a vehicle to reimagine wealth, marginalized food systems, and inheritance. Her work uses oral history, cooking, and film to examine and explore the Black experience in relation to land cultivation, traditional practices, and agronomy. She also co-founded the North Carolina based Black Farmer CSA, Tall Grass Food Box, a platform to support and encourage the sustainability of Black farmers, by increasing their visibility and securing space for them in the local marketplace.  

 

 

Asheville, Thomas Wolfe and the Spanish Influenza

 

Thomas Wolfe’s fiction captures a significant slice of time in North Carolina history. His first novel is set in Asheville and at Chapel Hill in the early 20th century. Wolfe’s father, a stone cutter, carved slabs of death, his mother, a businesswoman who saw no money in dying ran a boardinghouse. In this period Asheville, a boom town, had become a popular resort for recreation and a place to recover from illness. 

In the wake of the stresses from the current public health disaster we ask the question where can I go to heal my soul? This program strives to aid remote audiences reconnect with Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site as a historic place and space to learn about health and healing. Join us as we examine Asheville’s response to the Spanish Flu in 1918 and how Thomas Wolfe’s fiction can be used as a teachable moment in North Carolina history. Despite its reputation as a place for health and healing, nothing could prepare Asheville for the Spanish Influenza, a novel virus, unlike any that had been encountered up to the time. 

Thomas Wolfe Memorial preserves the childhood home of author Thomas Wolfe. Considered by many to be one of the giants of 20th-century American literature, Thomas Wolfe immortalized his childhood home in his epic autobiographical novel, Look Homeward, Angel. Wolfe’s colorful portrayal of his family, his hometown of “Altamont” Asheville, North Carolina, and “Dixieland” the Old Kentucky Home boardinghouse, earned the Victorian period house a place as one of American literature’s most famous landmarks.

Thomas Wolfe Memorial State HistoricSite:

 

Speaker Bio(s): 

Tom Muir, a graduate of the University of West Florida, has spent his career working as a public historian. He enjoys promoting the study of history for public audiences outside the traditional classroom at historic houses, battlefields, museums, and monuments. He is currently the historic site manager at Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site sharing the life and works of the author with visitors to North Carolina. 

Thomas Calder currently serves as the Arts & Culture Editor at the Mountain Xpress weekly newspaper. He is well known in Asheville for his History Archive column. There you will find that he has researched and published a series about the Spanish Influenza. Thomas received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. His writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, a literary and fine arts magazine, the University of Louisville’s Miracle Monocle, and elsewhere. 

Terry Roberts is a native of the mountains of Western North Carolina—born and bred. Currently, Terry Roberts is the Director of the National Paideia Center. He is a lifelong teacher and educational reformer. Roberts earned a Ph.D. in American Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill and his literary pursuits have included editing the “Thomas Wolfe Review” for ten years. A member of the Thomas Wolfe Society since graduate school in the late 1980s and currently President of the group, he has written many articles about Thomas Wolfe, and resource volumes about Wolfe’s ‘Look Homeward, Angel.’ Terry is the author of three celebrated award-winning novels set in Western North Carolina.

City of the Dead: Wilmington’s Yellow Fever Epidemic, 1862

 

UNC-Wilmington Professor Emeritus Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr. will present about the Yellow Fever pandemic in Civil War, Wilmington NC. In fall 1862 Wilmington, already the largest city in the state, went from Civil War boomtown to ghost town as people fled a disease that killed nearly half its victims.  In light of Covid-19’s effects on North Carolina, Dr. Fonvielle will examine the response to that earlier pandemic. 

Dr. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr.
https://www.chrisfonvielle.com/about

NC Historic Sites
Instagram: @nc_historicsites
Facebook: @NCStateHistoricSites
Twitter: @NCHistoricSites

 

Speaker Bio:

Chris E. Fonvielle Jr. is a native Wilmingtonian with a lifelong interest in American Civil War, North Carolina, and Cape Fear history. He attended public schools, including New Hanover High School, class of 1971, where he was the first soccer-style placekicker in North Carolina football history. After receiving his B.A. in anthropology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Chris served as the last curator of the Blockade Runners of the Confederacy Museum. He subsequently received his M.A. in American history at East Carolina University, and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. That makes Chris a Wildcat, a Seahawk, a Pirate, and a Gamecock. 

After a brief teaching stint at East Carolina University, Dr. Fonvielle returned to his undergraduate alma mater at UNCW in 1996, where he taught courses on the Civil War, Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear, and Antebellum America. His in-depth research focuses on coastal operations and defenses, and blockade running in southeastern North Carolina during the Civil War. He has published books and articles including The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope; Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear: An Illustrated History; Fort Fisher 1865: The Photographs of T.H. O’Sullivan. 

In 2014, then-Governor Pat McCrory appointed Dr. Fonvielle to the North Carolina Historical Commission. Upon his retirement from UNC Wilmington in 2018, Chris was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for distinguished service to the State of North Carolina, signed by incumbent Governor Roy Cooper. He is also a regular tour guide for Wilmington Water Tours, featured guest on “Cape Fear Unearthed” podcasts, and contributor of articles on Cape Fear history for Salt Magazine. 

 

 

The NC Division of State Historic Sites received a NC CARES: Humanities Relief Grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, www.nchumanities.org. Funding for NC CARES has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act economic stabilization plan.