Black Builder and Craftspeople Symposium

Wilmington, NC
Friday, November 4 - Saturday, November 5

Black Builder and Craftspeople Symposium

Friday & Saturday, November 4-5

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Celebrating the history, research and interpretation of Black craftspeople in North Carolina.

Join us in Wilmington for two days of conversation, networking and research focused on the history and interpretation of Black craftspeople in the Southeast. Friday’s events will focus on historic sites with opening remarks by Dr. Tiffany Momon of the Black Craftspeople Digital Archive; plenary by Director of NC Historic Sites, Michelle Lanier; and a Round Table discussion moderated by Dr. Torren Gatson. Friday will close with a social reception at the Bellamy Mansion Museum of History and Design Arts in the downtown historic district where attendees will get to browse the We Built This exhibit, profiling Black architects and builders from North Carolina. Saturday morning will start with student presentations on new and ongoing study followed by a keynote presentation by Jerome Bias, a woodworker and leading interpreter of Thomas Day. Saturday’s events will close with various options for tours around Wilmington, organized by Historic Wilmington Foundation.

This symposium is a collaboration between the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, the Black Craftspeople Digital Archive, Preservation North Carolina, the Bellamy Mansion Museum of History and Design Arts, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Historic Wilmington Foundation. With significant support and sponsorship by the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust.

Due to catering and limited capacity, day of registration may not be available.


Friday, November 4
12:00 Registration Opens
UNCW – Carolina Beach Room 1:00 1:45 Opening Remarks by Dr. Tiffany Momon of the Black Craftspeople Digital Archive
UNCW – Carolina Beach Room 1:45 2:45 Plenary: Michelle Lanier, Director of NC Historic Sites
UNCW – Carolina Beach Room 2:45 3:00 Break
UNCW – Carolina Beach Room 3:00 4:00 Historic Site Manager Round Table moderated by Dr. Torren Gatson, Black Craftspeople Digital Archive, to discuss how historic sites are interpreting the contributions of free and enslaved Black craftspeople and address how sites that have traditionally omitted this history can evolve to be more inclusive in their interpretation.

  • Michelle Lanier, Director, N.C. Division of Historic Sites
  • Terra Schramm, Site Administrator, North Carolina State Capitol
  • Dr. Tara White, Assistant Professor, UNCW
  • Jerome Bias, Southern Heritage Furniture
UNCW – Carolina Beach Room 4:00 4:30 Introduction: Bellamy Mansion Museum

  • Gareth Evans, Executive Director, Bellamy Mansion Museum
  • Myrick Howard, President, Preservation North Carolina
4:30 5:00 Break and travel to Bellamy Mansion
Bellamy Mansion Museum of History and Design Arts 5:00 7:00 Reception at Bellamy Mansion
Enjoy refreshments and socialize behind the scenes while you take in the exhibit
We Built This: Profiles of Black Architects and Builders in North Carolina
7:00 Dinner on your own


Saturday, November 5
8:30 9:30 Registration/Coffee
UNCW – Lumina Theater 9:30 11:00 Student Panel
Listen to emerging scholars in the field present recent and in-progress research
11:00 11:30 Break
UNCW – Lumina Theater 11:30 12:30 Keynote: Food, Family, and Furniture: A Journey of Hope

Jerome Bias, Southern Heritage Furniture, will explore the question of what hope and love may have looked like for the enslaved. By experiencing the foods and furniture that speak of the places where his family was enslaved, he will explore this question and the question of what southern material culture has to offer the descendants of the enslaved.

UNCW – Lumina Theater 12:30 1:00 Closing Remarks by Kevin Cherry of Classical American Homes Preservation Trust
1:00 2:00 Lunch on your own
Downtown Wilmington 2:00 4:00 Self-Guided Tours organized by Historic Wilmington Foundation
5:00 End