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Gov. and Mrs. Thomas Bickett at the Governor’s Mansion.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, the “Great War.” To commemorate this momentous event, the Tar River Center for History and Culture at Louisburg College is sponsoring a four-part lecture series, North Carolina and the Great War.

Now in its fifth year, the TRCHC’s lecture series brings scholars and citizens together to explore the history of North Carolina and the Upper Tar River region.

“During the centennial of World War I, it is fitting that this year’s lectures address North Carolina’s role in the conflict,” said Maury York, director of the center. “Tar Heels from all walks of life contributed to the war effort, not only in Europe, but also on the home front. Speakers will explain the roles of women, African-Americans and Governor and Mrs. Thomas Walter Bickett, who were living in Louisburg in 1916, when he was elected governor.”

Jessica A. Bandel, research historian with the North Carolina Office of Archives and History in Raleigh, will begin the series on Sept. 26, with a presentation entitled, “North Carolina and the Great War: An Overview.” Bandel is the author of “North Carolina in the Great War, 1914-1918,” published this April by the Office of Archives and History and distributed by the University of North Carolina Press. Her talk will be illustrated with images gleaned from the holdings of the North Carolina Museum of History, other repositories and private collectors.


Next, on Nov. 14, Dr. Janet G. Hudson of the University of South Carolina will focus on “Black North Carolinians as Soldiers in the Great War: The First, the Proud, the Brave.” Dr. Angela Robbins of Meredith College will speak on Feb. 27, 2018. “Doing Their Big Bit: North Carolina’s Women on the Home Front” is the title of her presentation, which will pay some attention to the war work of Fannie Yarborough Bickett.

The annual Joseph E. Elmore lecture will be given on April 3, 2018, by Dr. Karl E. Campbell of Appalachian State University. His talk, “Governor Thomas Bickett: War, Reform, and North Carolina’s Progressive Reputation,” will shed new light on Bickett’s role in fostering North Carolina’s reputation as a forward-thinking Southern state.

All lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Benson Chapel of Louisburg College and are free and open to the public. Parking is available in front of the chapel and adjacent to the Jones Performing Arts Center.

For more information, contact Maury York, director of the Tar River Center for History and Culture, at 919-497-3252 or at myork@louisburg.edu.