Phi Theta Kappa Chapter wins MLKjr Trailblazer Award for “Voices of New Bern” Documentary


The Craven Community College Alpha Phi Nu chapter of  Phi Theta Kappa was honored during the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend celebrations.  The chapter was invited to march in the MLKjr Parade on Saturday January 14 and to attend the MLKjr Scholarship and Awards Banquet held at The Flame Restaurant on Sunday January 15, 2012.  During the event, Phi Theta Kappa received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Trailblazer Award.  The award was given for the chapter’s 2011  Honors in Action project, a documentary titled “Voices of New Bern“.

Phi Theta Kappa wins MLKjr Trailblazer Award for "Voices of New Bern". MLKjr Parade photo by Sandy Wall, Craven Community College Public Information Officer

As Phi Theta Kappa students researched significant individuals for New Bern’s 300th Celebration in 2010, many New Bern voices were uncovered.  Abraham Galloway, Sarah Dudley Pettey, and William Henry Singleton, among others, were rediscovered as trailblazers in New Bern.  When the chapter began its research, voices such as Mrs. Blanche Rivers were fading.  Students wanted to capture her voice as well as others and dreamt of creating a documentary titled, “Voices of New Bern”.  Many people around New Bern and the country offered to help.  Students interviewed:  Allene Dudley Bundy, Dr. David Cecelski of Duke University, Dr. Glenda Gilmore of Yale University, Nelson McDaniel, Barbara Rivers Morgan, Mary Peterkin, Mary Randolph, Steve Shaffer and Helen Smaw.  Dr. Bruce Waugh, Valerie Kite, and the Craven Community College administration/faculty/staff willingly assisted with talent, time, space and equipment. Students used the resources of the Kellenberger Room, Godwin Memorial Library, New Bern Historical Society, New Bern Civil War Battlefield, Tryon Palace, the Pepsi Store, and the Fireman’s Museum.  Student researchers and filmmakers were: Samantha Abrante, Pamela Baldwin, Tony Bryant, Caleb Cobb, Karen Crump, Annette Cuthrell, Lori Anne Franklin, Jimmy Fulcher, Jr., Kayla Jones, Tim Kiley, Margaret Lamb, Wade Lamb, Suzanne Lee, Timothy Lee, Joe Nevels, II, Jo Shoemaker, and Shannon Wahl.  The project received grants from the Richard Chapman Cleve Fund, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation and The Walmart Foundation Community Grant awarded by the Walmart Supercenter of New Bern.  Mrs. Blanche Rivers died on December 28, 2010.  “Voices of New Bern” was dedicated to her memory.

Accepting the MLKjr Trailblazer Award for the chapter were:  Jimmy Fulcher, Jr.—Director and past  President; Marlena Brokob—current Chapter President; Chris Howe—Vice-President of Service; Toney Johnson—Vice President of Information; Margaret Lamb—Essayist and Honorary Phi Theta Kappa member; Helen Smaw—Composer and performer of the musical score; Pamela Baldwin—Researcher and chapter Co-Advisor; and Kathryn Amerson—Chapter Faculty Advisor.

The public is invited to the encore presentation of “Voices of New Bern” on March 31 at 1:00 PM in Cullman Hall in the new North Carolina History Center.  Tony Bryant, past chapter Secretary and alumnus, will also premiere two documentaries:  “Baptism by Fire—The Battle for New Berne” and “For Liberty and Union”.  The event is sponsored by the  Family History Society of Eastern North Carolina.  For more information visit the Family History Society of ENC.


Voices of New Bern Premieres on June 23


Voices of New Bern, a documentary by members of Phi Theta Kappa and students in Humanities 160, will première on Thursday June 23, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.    The event will take place in Orringer Auditorium on the campus of Craven Community College.    This film is supported by the Richard Chapman Cleve Fund, a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation, and the Walmart Community Grant.   

Voices of New Bern captures some of the city’s history from the Reconstruction period following the American Civil War to the Great Fire of New Bern in 1922.  Prominent figures such as Abraham Galloway, Emeline Pigott, Sarah Dudley Pettey, Oscar Marks, Bayard Wooten, Caleb Bradham, and Blanche Rivers are discussed.  Interviews with Dr. David Cecelski, Dr. Glenda Gilmore, Mr. Nelson McDaniel, Mrs. Mary Peterkin, Mrs. Mary Randolph, and Mrs. Blanche Rivers were conducted to reveal voices from New Bern’s history.  Music for the piece was composed and performed by Helen Sims Smaw.

The première is open to the public.   A question and answer session will follow.