Wednesday, January 22, 2020

A & T history prof Smallwood to examine African American impact on early NC in Asheboro library talk

Dr. Arwin Smallwood

ASHEBORO  -- North Carolina A & T history professor Dr. Arwin Smallwood will resume a talk called “The Origins and Early History of North Carolina” that he began in September, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, February 13, at the Asheboro Public Library.

Smallwood originally set out to discuss the three groups that generated early North Carolina’s prosperity — Native Americans, European settlers and enslaved African Americans. So engaging was his presentation, however, that he only got about halfway through his talk due to questions and lively discussion.

So Smallwood will return to focus on the African American side of the story. His talk, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, is free and the public is invited.

North Carolina’s history was shaped by a mixture of ethnic influences. The state’s waterways and forests sustained Native American villages that were replaced in the 18th Century by English plantations, cleared for whites by African and Indian slaves.

In his earlier talk, Smallwood traced the story of Native Americans, largely gone from the state for 200 years, except for small populations. Now, he will turn his attention to enslaved African Americans and their descendants through the struggles of slavery, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era.

The entwined histories are visible through dozens of maps Smallwood has created especially for this presentation, along with vivid illustrations of forgotten faces and moments from the past.

Smallwood was born in Windsor, North Carolina, and raised in Indian Woods, areas that figure prominently in his talks. He earned a bachelors degree in political science and a masters in history from North Carolina Central University, and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Currently serving as chair of the N.C. A & T History Department, he has taught at Bradley University in Illinois and at the University of Memphis, where he helped develop a Ph.D. program in African American history, the only one of its kind in the country. He is recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and grants, and participated in the award-winning UNC-TV documentary “The Birth of a Colony: North Carolina.”

The library is located at 201 Worth Street. For further information, call 336-318-6803.

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