Museum program looks at historic struggles in the south

SOUTHPORT, N.C. — Historic issues of power and privilege — both within the education system and reflective of society at the time — are at the heart of an upcoming talk hosted by the N.C. Maritime Museum at Southport.

Valinda W. Littlefield, an associate professor of history at the University of South Carolina, will present “I Am Only One, but I Am One: Southern African-American Schoolteachers and Struggles for Freedom, 1884-1964” on Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. The presentation is part of the museum’s 3rd Tuesday series, which is held at the Southport Community Center, 223 East Bay St.

The program is described as one focusing on the advancements of African Americans on the social, economic, political and educational battlefields of the southern landscape.

“She’s really just looking at the North Carolina schoolteachers during that time period and the struggles they went through,” the museum’s Education Curator Katy Menne said.

Littlefield, who has a Ph.D. in history, specializes in late 19th and 20th century African American history. Her current research focuses on African American rural southern women schoolteachers during the Jim Crow Era.

“She was one of my graduate professors and had a lot of interesting topics she talks about,” Menne said. “We’re definitely trying to give as much of a balanced look at our state and region as possible.”

Menne said that extends to introducing topics that might speak to more diverse audiences.

“All types of people can come to our programs and be seen,” she said.

Littlefield’s presentation is free, as are all 3rd Tuesday lectures. However, donations will be accepted via Sammi the Shark. Donations can be dropped inside the inflatable shark, and all donations from certain events will be earmarked for a specific purpose. Funds collected at Littlefield’s program will go toward the installation of a glass door on the hallway that leads to the museum’s education classroom, which will help limit disruptions to those on either side.

Seating for Littlefield’s presentation is limited, so registration is required. The program is geared for ages 16 years and older. Contact the museum at 910-477-5151 for more information or to register.


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