African-American Music Trails exhibit opens

Published 3:12 pm Thursday, May 4, 2017

Portraits from the African-American Music Trails of North Carolina will be on display in the gallery of Arts of the Pamlico at the Historic Turnage Theatre in downtown Washington from May 5-31.

Hosted by the Arts of the Pamlico, in partnership with the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum, the exhibition highlights the influence of African American musicians on many genres of American music. Jazz musicians born in eastern North Carolina who went on to international fame include Thelonius Monk, who spent his early childhood in Rocky Mount, and Billy Taylor, whose family moved from Greenville to Washington, D.C., when he was 5 years old.

The state-touring exhibit is part of the African-American Music Trails of eastern North Carolina, a project of the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the counties of Edgecombe, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson. There is also a guidebook and a website,

“This free event is a rare and wonderful opportunity for our community and visitors to see seldom displayed images that connect places and people in order to commemorate the rich heritage of African-American music in North Carolina and to inspire all of us to celebrate this musical history and traditions,” said Debra Torrence, executive director of Arts of the Pamlico.

About the photographers: Cedric N. Chatterley’s documentary photography has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and state humanities agencies in Illinois, Maine, North Carolina and South Dakota. The Archibald Bush Foundation awarded him an artist fellowship in 2010. Chatterley was the principle photographer for the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina and the Cherokee Heritage Trail. Titus Brooks Heagins started his photography career 16 years ago, first in Cuba and later in Haiti, photographing religious and spiritual ceremony. Through photography he has traveled throughout five continents working for non-profits and personal projects. His work is included in the collections of several state, national and international museums.

African-American Music Trails of eastern North Carolina is a project of the N.C. Arts Council’s cultural tourism program. An early leader in cultural tourism, the agency has developed trails to brand the state as a place that sustains unique and significant arts resources. Other trails feature literature, music, North Carolina craft and Cherokee heritage. To find out more visit