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Tar River Center announces event lineup

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LOUISBURG — The Tar River Center for History and Culture has announced a lineup of events for 2019-20.

All events are sponsored by the Tar River Center for History and Culture and free to the public. For more information, call 919-497-3251 or visit

Exploring your family roots

This year’s programs start Sept. 12 with noted genealogist Diane Richard, who will lead a seminar titled Exploring Your Family Roots. She will demonstrate how to best use court records, archives, photographs, and digital databases in genealogical research.

Richard has over 25 years of experience in researching family history and genealogy of early 20th century emigrants. Her specialty is geographically scattered North Carolina families. She has M.E. and M.B.A. degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Richard began doing genealogy research in 1987 and since 2004 has professionally focused on the records of North Carolina, other southern states and migration paths to the Mississippi River. She has researched North Carolina roots for the popular TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” and appeared on the episode featuring Bryan Cranston.

Since 2006, she has authored almost 300 articles on genealogical topics for a variety of publications including Internet Genealogy and Your Genealogy Today. Richard is current editor of the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal and Wake Treasures, which is the journal of the Wake County Genealogical Society. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society.

Pirates of the Carolinas

“Pirates of the Carolinas” promises a swashbuckling day of fun for the whole family on Oct. 5.

Blackbeard’s Crew, a living history performance group dedicated to the accurate representation of seafaring life during the Golden Age of Piracy, will appear in full pirate regalia. The crew demonstrates fascinating topics such as navigation, seamanship, surgery, medicine, hygiene, rope making, period cooking, and sail/ship repair. Also experience firelock, live sword-play and cannon live-fire demonstrations.

For pirates-in-training, there is even a Scallywag School for the Kids. This educational outreach provides realistic portrayals of pirates and other seamen so the public, especially children, may readily see them in contrast to pirates and seamen typically portrayed in the movie industry. This event will take place on the Seby B. Jones Performing Arts Center Front Lawn from noon to 6 p.m.

History of powered flight

The Tar River Center celebrates North Carolina’s role in the history of powered flight on Nov. 4.

Starting at 10 a.m., Franklin County schoolchildren will have an opportunity to learn about the Wright Brothers in a live performance titled “Those Daring Young Men & Their Flying Machine.” This musical biography for young audiences follows the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright, America’s pioneers of aviation. With courage, ingenuity and determination, they make their dream of flying come true.

At 7 p.m., Dr. Elliot Engel returns to Louisburg College’s JPAC to present “Brothers, Not Twins: Separating Orville and Wilbur Wright.” Engel reveals two equally fascinating but utterly different individuals who, working together, produced the airplane — one of humanity’s most revolutionary inventions.

Engel, a Dickens scholar, lives in Raleigh and has taught at the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University and Duke University. He is known for his lighthearted lectures on the English language and literature.

Rufus Edmisten

Former N.C. Attorney General, Secretary of State and author Rufus Edmisten will appear at the Benson Chapel on the Louisburg College campus at 7 p.m. on March 26, 2020. Edmisten will discuss his memoir, “That’s Rufus.”

A University of North Carolina Chapel Hill graduate, he earned a law degree at George Washington University and landed a job as counsel to U.S. Senator Samuel J. Ervin Jr. This led to Edmisten’s appointment as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee. He personally served Richard Nixon the first ever subpoena of a sitting president by Congress.

Returning to North Carolina, he served as Attorney General and Secretary of State before retiring from public life to practice law and participate in charitable activities. Written with humor and candor, Edmisten’s memoir recalls the cultural contrasts of American life in the 1970s and 1980s, and affirms that the business of government is to enable us to live together peacefully.

History of jazz

Closing out the Tar River Center’s programs is noted bassist, composer, educator and actor John Brown.

At 7 p.m. on April 14, 2020 Brown will present “North Carolina’s Role in the History of Jazz,” a lecture that will discuss the influence of some of North Carolina’s greatest jazz artists such as John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Max Roach and Nina Simone.

He and his fellow musicians will perform selections from these artist’s greatest compositions and demonstrate how they played a vital role in the creation of a true American art form.

Brown is a graduate of the School of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He currently serves as Director of the Jazz Program and Associate Professor of the Practice of Music at Duke University.