Events, North Carolina History, Special Collections

Bland Simpson Discusses “Two Captains from Carolina” Sept. 13

Captains from Carolina event flier

Two Captains from Carolina: Moses Grandy, John Newland Maffitt, and the Coming of the Civil War
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012
Wilson Special Collections Library
5:30 p.m. Lecture | Pleasants Family Assembly Room
Free and open to the public
Information: Liza Terll, Friends of the Library, (919) 548-1203

A former slave and freight captain, and a Confederate blockade runner. Author Bland Simpson brings these historical figures to life in his latest book, Two Captains from Carolina: Moses Grandy, John Newland Maffitt, and the Coming of the Civil War.

Simpson will discuss and read from his work in a free public program on Thursday, Sept. 13, in the Wilson Special Collections Library.

The 5:30 p.m. program in the Pleasants Family Assembly Room is free and open to the public.

Grandy (ca. 1786-ca. 1850) was born a slave in Camden County, N.C., and bought his freedom three times before he finally gained it. He captained freight boats on the Dismal Swamp Canal near the border of North Carolina and Virginia, and later became involved in Boston abolitionism.

Maffitt (1819-1886) grew up in Fayetteville and was appointed midshipman in the U.S. Navy at age thirteen. After North Carolina seceded from the Union, he enlisted in the Confederate Navy and became a legendary blockade runner and raider before retiring to Wilmington.

Although the two never met, their stories reflect the saga of race and maritime culture in the antebellum and Civil War-era South.

Simpson is Kenan Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at UNC and a member of the Tony Award-winning band the Red Clay Ramblers.

His books include The Coasts of Carolina: Seaside to Sound Country (UNC Press, 2010), Ghost Ship of Diamond Shoals: The Mystery of the Carroll A. Deering (UNC Press, 2005), and Into the Sound Country: A Carolinian’s Coastal Plain (UNC Press, 1997).

The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Books will be available for sale and signing, courtesy of the Bull’s Head Bookshop.

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