Freedom is focus of Historic Bath event

Published 2:59 am Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

BATH — Staff members at Historic Bath State Historic Site are putting the finishing touches on plans for this weekend’s “Second Saturdays” celebration, the theme of which is freedom.
The event is the second in a series of three “mini festivals” being held monthly this summer at historic sites across the state. The program is a partnership between the N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources and the N.C. Arts Council.
The theme of Saturday’s event is “Strength through Struggle: The Pursuit of Freedom.” According to a news release from Historic Bath, the event will focus on freedom fights for the country and for African Americans in North Carolina.
“Second Saturdays” combines history and the arts with special programs and activities, according to Historic Bath’s site manager, Leigh Swain. Activities run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“The theme for this program came together very easily because of the date’s proximity to July 4 and as a result of a conversation I had with Jimmy Edwards, a local man,” Swain said. “He had expressed interest in dressing in period clothing and delivering the Declaration of Independence to people. So many people have never heard it spoken, even if they’ve read it, but most people know of its importance to our country.”
Edwards, dressed as Benjamin Franklin, will recite the Declaration of Independence twice during the festivities, at 10:15 a.m. and again at 1 p.m.
“I started thinking in a broader way about freedom and what that has meant to different people through the years,” Swain continued. “Sometimes freedom is a goal that isn’t obtained, at least during that person’s lifetime. Throughout the day, there will be opportunities to contemplate the meaning of the freedoms we enjoy through recitations, music from the War of Independence era, a lecture and a children’s activity.”
Bath writer and researcher LeRae Umfleet will talk about her book, titled “A Day of Blood: The 1898 Wilmington Race Riot,” which examines the struggles faced by African Americans as they fought for the rights and freedoms granted by the Constitution.
Simon Spalding, a fiddler from New Bern, will perform selections while dressed as a sailor from the War of Independence, Swain added.
Historic Bath Site staff will offer two workshops for youngsters, during which the basics of quill writing will be taught. And tours of the 1751 Palmer-Marsh House and the 1830 Bonner House will be conducted for a nominal fee every hour.
Artists and crafters from Beaufort County and across the state are expected to display and sell their wares, which should include marbled paper, wood burning, pottery, jewelry and weaving. Local artists scheduled to participate are Sandra Cherry Jones, Carlise Jones Carter and Valda Belyeu, all of Washington.
The “Second Saturdays” series of programs will conclude Aug. 14 with “Today is Tomorrow’s History: Capturing Our World Through Art.”
*For more information about “Second Saturdays,” call the Historic Bath Visitors Center at 252-923-3971.