01/26/09 — Pirates will take spotlight for Wayne County Reads program

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Pirates will take spotlight for Wayne County Reads program

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 26, 2009 1:46 PM

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"Blackbeard: America's Most Notorious Pirate" is the 2009 Wayne County Reads book selection.

Readers will travel the high seas this year as Wayne County Reads kicks off its 2009 community reading project by following the exploits of one of the world's most notorious pirates.

"Blackbeard: America's Most Notorious Pirate" is the choice this year, with not only book discussions, but a variety of other activities planned to go along with the swashbuckling tale.

Wayne County Reads Committee Chairman Tara Humphries said this year's project promises a packed calendar for February and March.

The planned activities will give readers a closer look at the notorious pirate Blackbeard and a myriad of other pirates, both male and female.

The kick-off event will be Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. with an update on recovery efforts now under way off the shores of Beaufort to find what is left of the Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard's flagship.

The presentation by Mark Wilde-Ramsing, the project's director, will be preceded by a video clip of remarks by Angus Konstam, author of the Wayne County Reads project book.

The finale that night will be a reception featuring swordplay by the Shadow Players Stage Combat Group of pirate re-enactors.

On Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Wayne County Public Library, author Kevin Duffus will discuss his book, "The Last Days of Blackbeard."

Although conventional wisdom says Blackbeard was an Englishman, Ms. Humphries said Duffus believes the pirate was born in a part of the original colonies that later became North Carolina.

East Carolina University professor Carl Swanson will discuss his book, "Buccaneering and Pirates in the Colonial Era," Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in Wayne Community College's Moffatt Auditorium,

On Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. in the Arts Council of Wayne County, Blackbeard impersonator and storyteller Ben Cherry will give a presentation for adults and children -- one of the Wayne County Reads committee's priorities for this year's events.

"The emphasis this year is events for the whole family," committee member Matt Shaw said. "Most are free family events to encourage a life-long love of reading. ... This has been a very good year for dynamic speakers."

Maritime Heritage tourism officer Connie Mason will continue the pirate theme March 2 in the Moffatt Auditorium at Wayne Community College with her presentation, "Bad to the Hair Bun: An Overview of Women Pirates through History."

On March 5 in Room 102 of the Walnut Building at Wayne Community College, University of North Carolina professor Julius Nyang'oro will talk about "Modern Day Piracy."

March 7 will be a day of treasure hunting for children in the morning and the adults later in the day. In the morning, the children will head to Herman Park to search for treasures marked on a map. And in the afternoon, the adults will grab hand-held Global Positioning System devices and follow clues to find their treasures.

At the Wayne County Museum March 9, UNC professor Bland Simpson will discuss the creative process in his writing of the play, "Hot Grog," which will be performed in a dinner theater at the Goldsboro Country Club on March 19 followed by evening performances on March 20 and 21 in the auditorium at the Wayne Community College and a matinee performance at the college on March 22.

On March 12 in the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Library, there will be a children's event featuring Becky Denison as "Nana Belle."

On March 16 in the Hennessee Room of Mount Olive College's Murphy Center, Margaret Hoffman will present "Blackbeard! The Man Behind the Legend" and discuss her book, "Blackbeard: A Tale of Villainy and Murder in Colonial America." Her topic will be the politics that set the stage for Blackbeard's exploits.

Also throughout the two months, the library will feature a series of Sunday classic pirate movies beginning on Feb. 15 and continuing on March 1, 8 and 15.

"Blackbeard was North Carolina's first celebrity," Shaw said. "He is still known almost 300 years after his death (in 1718). Will Michael Jordan or even Andy Griffith be known in 300 years?"