Chowan Discovery took part in two programs on Dec 11, 2016 in Hertford County. The first was was to celebrate three milestones at Pleasant Plains Church: its 165th anniversary, the 150th anniversary year of the founding of its school – Pleasant Plains School, and the school’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places. After the service conducted by Pastor W. Robert Ashe, the church served a meal in the fellowship hall where Marvin T. Jones recounted the history of the school and the process of putting it on the Register. Historic preservation consultant Joanna Braswell of Smithfield, Virginia was acknowledged for her valuable contribution to the nomination.
Chowan Discovery thanks Church Trustee McCoy Pierce, Deacon Dr. Terry Hall, Reverend Ashe and the congregation of Pleasant Plains for making the day possible.
Shortly after, the Cultivator Bookstore in Murfreesboro hosted a Chowan Discovery presentation about Mrs. Katie M. Hart. She founded and ran the Hertford County Colored Public Library from 1938 to 1969. It was the only public library for people of color in northeastern North Carolina during the jim crow era.
Mrs. Hart, then a teacher supervisor, on her own, began a small library for people of color in 1931. In 1938, she began a bookmobile service and within a few years opened a library building in Winton. Her bookmobile served Hertford and Gates counties, and her books were available to all people. Mrs. Hart retired in 1969 at the time her library merged with the Albemarle Regional Library. The talk/slide presentation has many images of Mrs. Hart, her bookmobile, library, home and gravesite. Included are an interview with Dr. Dudley Flood and reminisces taken from Ben Watford, John Eley, Jacqueline Vann Jones and Shawnee Smith Ball. Mr. Eley, a piano student of Mrs. Hart, attended.
Chowan Discovery is thankful to Barbara Boone Buescher for sending information about Mrs. Hart and her mother; and to Caroline Stephenson and Jochen Kunstler of Cultivator for the invitation to present.