2018 Lafayette Birthday Celebration

The 11th annual Lafayette Birthday Celebration will be held September 7th and 8th in downtown Fayetteville and at Methodist University.

Arias and Artifacts at Methodist University (5400 Ramsey Street)

Come celebrate Lafayette’s Polish connections! At 5:30pm, join us to nosh on Polish delights and get a close-up view of items in the Methodist University Lafayette Collection at Davis Memorial Library. The spotlight this year is on the newest letter in the collection, a rare draft of a circa-1830 letter from Lafayette to the Polish support committee in Paris. At 6:00pm, history professor Dr. Lloyd Kramer, Director of Carolina Public Humanities at UNC Chapel Hill, will give a short gallery talk about the letter and Lafayette’s interest in the Polish revolution. For more information, email Arleen Fields. The library program will wrap up in plenty of time for you to stroll across the quad to Hensdale Chapel for the “Arias.”

For the Arias portion of the evening, Dr. Gail Morfesis and Friends will present an hour-long concert of vocal and instrumental music by French composers in Hensdale Chapel. It will include a tribute to Poland’s favorite son Chopin to commemorate Lafayette’s support of the Polish revolution (see above!). Dr. Morfesis, a classically-trained soprano, has designed the program to be an entertaining, fast-paced event.

As usual, Dr. Morfesis has assembled a stunning array of professional talent, including heralded Russian pianist Anastasia Popova Bryant. Other performers include Dr. Larry Wells, trumpeter with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra, young musical prodigies, and international pianists Jesse Davis, Lawrence Quinett, and Amanda Virelles.

Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door, but advance purchase is recommended. To purchase tickets, stop by City Center Gallery & Books in downtown Fayetteville or call the shop at 910-678-8899. (Methodist University students admitted free; other students $5.)

Festival of Yesteryear (801 Arsenal Avenue)

Focusing on early America, this program features living historians, hands on activities for kids, musical performances, “The Death of Blackbeard” colonial puppet show, and the Lafayette Birthday cake cutting. Living historians demonstrate various aspects of daily life including spinning, woodworking, crime and punishment, music, toys and games, Native American craft and hunting demonstrations, and militia drills. Be sure to visit Apprentice Alley, where children can participate and learn a variety of trades through hands on crafts and activities. Musical performances by the Cross Creek Pipes and Drums, Life as Art Production’s “African Spirituals: Freedom Prayers,” and musical historian Simon Spalding.

Be sure to check out “Camp Lafayette” under the tents near the Festival of Yesteryear performance stage! There you will find a display on Lafayette in Fayetteville in 1825, fun learning activities, and a Lafayette cut-out for novelty photos. There will be a meet-and-greet and book signing with author Jeffrey Finegan from Finesville, New Jersey, from 10am to 2pm. He has written a series of books for young adults about George Washington from the perspective of other historical figures, including Lafayette. Also, Lafayette “Rock Concert” tee shirts (very trendy) will be available for purchase. And, of course, what’s a birthday party without a cake? Free cake and ice cream will be served (while supplies last) after the cake cutting at 1:00 pm.

Admission to the event and all activities are FREE! Activities take place in Arsenal Park located in the Haymount Historic District, at Arsenal Ave/Myrover Street, minutes from downtown Fayetteville. For more information, visit museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov, find us on Facebook @MuseumoftheCapeFear or call (910) 500-4240.

This project is supported by the Arts Council in part by contributions from businesses, individuals, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County, and the NC Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources. Additional funds provided by the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex Foundation, Inc. For more information, visit www.ncdcr.gov/ncmcf.

City Center Gallery & Books (112 Hay Street)

If you didn’t get to meet him at the Festival of Yesteryear, drop by City Center Gallery & Books between 4:00 and 6:00pm for a reception with author Jeffrey Finegan from Finesville, New Jersey. His historical fiction, which centers around George Washington, has become popular with young adult readers – and grownups too! The narrator in each of his three books is an historical figure and, in his latest, it just happens to be Lafayette! Free refreshments will be served.

While there, check out the area’s largest selection of books written on Lafayette and get a copy of the 1825 “Lafayette Map” of Fayetteville. Also, meet popular artist Caroline Merino and see her unique painting of the Market House on a replica of the Lafayette Map and other “Lafayette Art.”

The Wine Café (108 Hay Street)

After a fulfilling day of history and fun, it is time to “Party like you’re in Paris!” Enjoy a FREE wine tasting experience with the experts at Fayetteville’s premier watering-hole, The Wine Café, and socialize with friends as you compare “notes.” Small plates of French cheeses will also be available for purchase. Adding to your enjoyment will be a musical performance by the “Amazing Thiriot Family.” This talented troupe will get your feet tapping and put a smile on your face. It all adds up to a delightful evening in Historic Downtown Fayetteville.

There is no admission charge and no reservations are required, but come early because this popular event always fills up fast. Be sure to take some wine home with you too! Remember, French wines are actually very affordable – and they are the real thing. Also, ask about store discounts when you buy a six-pack or a case!

The Wine Café is located at 108 Hay Street across from the Market House. Convenient free parking is located around Market Square or just one block away in Fayetteville’s newest, architectural award-winning parking deck (drive in from Franklin Street).

Annual Meeting and Social – March 4, 2018

If you missed it – You missed a great time!

On Sunday March 4, SkyView on Hay in Historic Downtown Fayetteville was the setting for a lively gathering of over 100 members of the Lafayette Society and guests for our 38th annual meeting. Special guests included 12 members of the Fayetteville State University Black History Club. Most attendees began arriving early to enjoy visiting with friends old and new, while sampling a variety of delicious “small plates” along with complimentary wine, mimosas, and iced tea. This new format was devised in 2017 after a survey of members showed the majority favored a shorter program, lighter fare, and more time to socialize.

Crowd shot of the annual Lafayette Society meeting

After a full hour of socializing while “noshing” on a variety of delicious small plates, guests settled in for a short program that included a performance and discussion of early American music by Simon Spalding from New Bern.

 

After Dr. Gail Morfesis led the attendees in a spirited singing of the American and the French national anthems, the program began with the introduction of board members elected in the past year (Ferd Irizarry, Rob Taber, and Weyher Dawson) and recognition of retiring board member Mithu Chaudhuri. Mithu and her husband Dr. Debi Chaudhuri are founding members of the Lafayette Society.

CSM Robert Teagle and his wife Christy (left), along with members of the FSU Black History Club and club president Douglas Ballard (center, in white suit), talk with professional musician Simon Spalding. He is showing one of several stringed instruments he played for the audience, a replica of the earliest known version of the banjo, which was developed in Africa and brought to this country by slaves.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the introduction of the The Medaille Lafayette, an award for leadership in the military developed by the Lafayette Society. This award was a 2-year project of the Finance and Grants Committee, whose members include Ferd Irizarry, Gwen Melton, Franklin Clark, and Hank Parfitt. Staff from the Noncommissioned Officers Academy at Ft. Bragg (Curtis Price, CSM Robert Teagle, and SGM James Putman) were honored for their invaluable service in helping bring this project to fruition. Ferd Irizarry, who acted as the liaison between Ft. Bragg and the Society, explained that the award is given to the top graduate of an intensive 3-week leadership course for Special Operations Forces. The leadership course is required for soldiers who are eligible for promotion to the rank of Master Sergeant or E-8, the second highest rank for noncommissioned officers.

Simon Spalding, a professional musician and historian from New Bern, entertained the crowd with a medley of songs that might have entertained Lafayette in France or here in this country, along with a running commentary about the history of that music. The audience even sang along during the refrain from an old sea shanty. Simon played authentic stringed instruments from the period, including a replica of the earliest known banjo, developed in Africa and brought by slaves to America.

Society members Linda McAlister and Jan Anderson visited with Simon after the annual meeting. Jan brought in an antique banjo that she had acquired in her many travels to show to Simon. He determined that it has the earmarks of an instrument made in the North Carolina mountains and estimated its age at over 100-years old.

The program concluded at 2:15pm, although many attendees lingered to visit with one another or with Simon Spalding.

If you haven’t renewed your membership for 2018 we encourage you to do so so that you can stay in touch and learn about the upcoming opportunities that give Lafayette Society members the chance to learn and socialize at the same time!

Members of the FSU Black History Club pose with Professor Rob Taber (left) and lecturer Diane Shaw (center). Club president Douglas Ballard and Lafayette Society president Hank Parfitt are on the right.

“I have been so long the friend of Emancipation” –
Lafayette, Slavery, and Human Rights

The Lafayette Society and the FSU Black History Club
host a presentation on Lafayette and slavery

The Lafayette Society has enjoyed a long relationship with Fayetteville’s Methodist University, where numerous Lafayette artifacts and mementos are housed. One year ago, the Society’s Board of Directors also expressed an interest in forging a relationship with Fayetteville State University (FSU). FSU is an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) that was founded in 1867. An ad hoc committee met with Dr. Rob Taber, a history professor at FSU whose specialty is the Atlantic slave trade and Colonial life in the French colonies. With Rob’s assistance, arrangements were made for the school’s Black History Club and the Lafayette Society to co-host Diane Shaw, Director for Special Collections and College Archives at Lafayette College, for a guest lecture.

Diane Shaw and Hank Parfitt with FSU students

Diane Shaw and FSU students talk history before lunch in the student center.

On Tuesday February 27 on the FSU campus, Ms. Shaw presented her lecture “I have been so long the friend of Emancipation”: Lafayette, Slavery, and Human Rights to members of the Black History Club, other FSU students and faculty, and members of the Lafayette Society. Ms. Shaw also joined about 10 members of the club for lunch in the school cafeteria, where the students eagerly plied her with numerous questions about a career in history education or library science. In turn, they told her about the club’s recent activities, including a project to coordinate an annual Black History Quiz Bowl for area high schools.

For the Lafayette Society, this was an excellent opportunity to reach a number of young people with a message about Lafayette’s place in history. The response by the students has been very positive and enthusiastic and more projects involving FSU are planned for the future. In fact, a dozen club members joined the Lafayette Society and attended our annual luncheon meeting a week after the lecture!

Our organization’s new relationship with FSU also opens the door to public discussion about Lafayette’s staunch opposition to slavery and other forms of human oppression. It will also provide an opportunity to educate the public about Lafayette’s purchase of a South American plantation and its slaves as part of a noble experiment to eliminate slavery. At a time when issues of race divide our nation, it is crucial that this history be told accurately and that we help people understand why Lafayette was a hero to the abolitionists long after his death.

Long-time Fayetteville Observer staff writer and columnist Myron Pitts wrote an article on Ms. Shaw’s presentation which appeared on March 1st. It is well worth the reading.

(To access the article, you can also type __Myron Pitts Lafayette__ into the search box at the Fayetteville Observer online, or copy and paste this URL into your browser:  http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20180228/myron-b-pitts-fsu-speaker-recounts-lafayettes-stance-against-slavery).

 

2017 Lafayette Birthday Celebration

Click on the slide show below to view photos of some of our 2017 events!

 

Thank You to All of Our Sponsors:

Lura S. Tally Center for Leadership Development at Methodist University

Morgan Stanley