Southeastern North Carolina Black History Month facts: Week 3
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - WECT proudly celebrates Black History Month.
All month long we will highlight places, people, and moments that shaped Black history in southeastern North Carolina.
Feb. 14: Bellamy Mansion
The Bellamy Mansion was built between 1859 and 1861.
It was constructed by both free and enslaved African Americans.
William B. Gould was one of the workers who built the Bellamy Mansion.
The slave quarters served as the home to the enslaved people who were house servants for the Bellamy family.
Federal Troops took over the home as their headquarters in 1865, after the fall of Fort Fisher.
After it was abandoned, the house sat vacant for years and was in need of repairs.
Eventually, a non-profit corporation was formed to restore the house and open it as a museum.
Feb 15: C.C. Spaulding
Charles Clinton Spaulding was born and raised in Columbus County in 1874.
Spaulding started working at North Carolina Mutual in Durham in 1899.
He would later go on to become president of the company. Under his leadership, North Carolina Mutual would go on to become not only the largest but also the richest black-owned business in the nation.
The company was reportedly worth $40 million at the time of Spaulding’s death in 1952.
Feb. 16: Rosenwald Schools
In the early 1900s, Julius Rosenwald created a fund to further education for African Americans in the rural South.
The Canetuck school in Rocky Point was one of the 800 Rosenwald Schools built in North Carolina.
It was built in 1921 and closed in 1958.
It served children within walking distance in grades one through six.
The school is now a community center.
In 2002, Rosenwald schools were listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Feb. 17: Dr. Oscar Blanks
Dr. Oscar Blanks rallied with several other students for the sit-in movement at North Carolina A&T State University.
In Columbus County, Dr. Blanks wore many hats---educator, administrator, and minister.
In 1990, he won a historic lawsuit to gain his seat as a Columbus County commissioner.
He also created The Afro Chronicle, a newspaper for African Americans.
Dr. Blanks passed away in August 2006.
Feb. 18: Colored Troops Statue at CAM
A new exhibit at the Cameron Art Museum honors the United States Colored Troops.
The Battle of Forks Road led to the fall of Wilmington and the victory over the confederacy. Much of the reason it was successful was because of the help of the 1,600 brave soldiers of the U.S. Colored Troops.
The “Boundless” art installation at the Cameron Art Museum features 11 Black men connected to that battle.
The sculpture was created by artist Stephen Hayes.
He found descendants of the troops -- re-enactors and veterans -- to create the bronze sculpture.
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