Pirates Of The NC Coast
Pirate Parley On The Pamlico
Have you thought that pirates were, as a British journalist once described them, “abominable brutes” whose disorderly, drunken, thieving, sordid lives revolved around “revolting cruelty and dishonest greed?” Well, think again!
The Blackbeard Adventure Alliance (BAA) of Beaufort County presents the one-day symposium (in 3-D HighDef) and river cruise on Saturday, May 21, at Washington and Bath. An international panel of pirate scholars will present groundbreaking and startlingly different historical perspectives of Carolina and Caribbean pirates against the pop-culture backdrop of the latest depiction of two of the world’s best-known fictional and historical pirates — Jack Sparrow and Edward Teach. Featured among the Parley’s provocative presentations will be titles such as: “Bloodthirsty Pirates or Hapless Marionettes?” and, “Pirate Myths and Realities.”
Who were the real pirates of the Caribbean? How did pirates of the “Golden Age” differ from their literary and Hollywood incarnations? Did pirate captains torture or make their victims walk the plank, did they bury treasure, wear gaudy clothes and earrings? How many victims did the notorious Blackbeard kill? Did pirates begin every sentence with “aaargh?” Which popularly-known pirates are entirely fictional creations? What were the origins of the Jolly Roger? How have modern depictions of pirates been influenced by "Treasure Island," "Peter Pan," "The Pirates of Penzance" and the paintings of Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth? These are just some of the questions that will be answered during the Pirate Parley on the Pamlico.
The Pirate Parley on the Pamlico begins on Saturday morning in the footsteps of Blackbeard the pirate with a bus trip of 75 ticket holders departing Washington’s waterfront at 10 a.m. followed by a walking tour of Bath led by ECU's Dr. Charles Ewen, author of "X Marks the Spot—The Archaeology of Piracy." A noted scholar of Colonial-era archaeology, Ewen will discuss discoveries of recent archaeological excavations and historical research and what has been learned about the size, sophistication and daily life of the town where Blackbeard and his cohorts surrendered to authorities in the summer of 1718.
The tour of Bath will be followed by a one-of-a-kind narrated and catered pirate cruise aboard the 85-foot-long Belle of Washington, departing the Bath town dock and passing important sites like the famed “secret tunnel” plantation of Gov. Eden and later, the pirate-cooper Edward Salter at Beasley Point, Blackbeard's purported residence at Plum Point and the plantation of suspected pirate patron Tobias Knight at Archbell Point. During this three-hour cruise up the Pamlico River.
At 3 p.m. near Washington’s waterfront, symposium ticket holders will convene at the historic Turnage Theatre for two fascinating presentations. British historian E.T. Fox from Brixham, England, curator of the Sir Francis Drake-Golden Hind museum ship and author of "The King of the Pirates — The Swashbuckling Career of Henry Every," will explain the historical realities of pirates and their differences from pop-culture depictions in film and literature. Kevin P. Duffus, noted North Carolina filmmaker, journalist, decoder of maritime mysteries and author of "The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate," will present a new, provocative program titled “Bloodthirsty Pirates or Hapless Marionettes?"
At 7 p.m. the doors of the Turnage will reopen for a presenter book signing and exhibit in the reception area of the theater titled “Interpretations of Blackbeard In Fact, Fiction & Folklore,” featuring books, movie posters and artwork depicting Beaufort County’s infamous pirate captain. At 7:30 p.m., the Pirate Parley on the Pamlico will resume with a spirited, free-wheeling roundtable discussion of pirates, Blackbeard, archaeology, history, folklore and legends, featuring E.T. Fox, Charles Ewen, Kevin Duffus and questions from the audience.
Tickets for the bus trip to Bath, tour and return to Washington by catered river cruise cost $75 per person. Tickets for the Parley sessions at the Turnage Theater are $20 per person. Members of recognized historical societies and genealogical organizations will be offered special seating; all other ticket holders will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Blackbeard Adventure Alliance (BAA) office at 252-948-0550. Additional information may be soon found at BAA’s website.
added: May 3, 2011
updated: January 21, 2013