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New Bern Celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the 14th Amendment

Our fundraising event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment was a huge success!

Ben Watford, president of the James City Historical Society, outlined the crucial role played by the Trent River Settlement (now known as James City) in the history of our region. During the Civil War, thousands of enslaved African-Americans from across the Confederacy freed themselves and found their way to Union-occupied New Bern, where they formed a settlement known as the Trent River Settlement and were paid for the first time for the work they were doing.

Then our keynote speaker, constitutional scholar and author Linda Monk, stood to speak. She pointed out that because of the importance of the Trent River Settlement in the history of civil rights in America, we in New Bern are on “holy ground.” She also outlined the history of the 14th Amendment, highlighting that its protections rely on constant civic action in order to preserve and protect our rights. “The moral of the story is that what SCOTUS gives, SCOTUS can take away. It’s all on us. That’s what the people at the Trent River Settlement taught us.”

“For me as a Constitutional scholar, the reason I’ve devoted my life and career to this, is that throughout American history, when people were told ‘you don’t count, the Constitution doesn’t apply to you,’ they’ve never believed it!”
-Linda Monk

One thing Mr. Watford mentioned at the event is that there is a cemetery in James City, with hundreds of African-Americans from the Civil War and postwar eras interred there. The James City Historical Society, which is charged with upkeep on the cemetery property, desperately needs a new lawn mower to keep that space in prime condition. If you would like to contribute to the James City Historical Society, please mail a check to the following address:

James City Historical Society
911 Howell Dr
New Bern NC 28560

Thank you to Ben Watford and Linda Monk, and to all of our volunteers, for making this event a tremendous success!

Linda Monk and Ben Watford with the executive officers of the Craven County Democratic Party

Ben Watford, president of the New Bern Historical Society

Linda Monk, constitutional scholar and author of

The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide

Linda Monk receives birthday flowers and a cake

Linda Monk signing books after the event

Linda Monk signing books after the event