By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Local legends will come to life at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Edgecombe County Memorial Library at 909 Main St. in Tarboro. Monika Fleming, local author and coordinator of the historic preservation trades program at Edgecombe Community College, will discuss her book “Legendary Locals of Edgecombe and Nash Counties.” Admission to the event is free.
“Any time history can step down from a half-forgotten shelf and come alive is good, and Ms. Fleming is very adept at making that happen,” said Paula Martin, president of the Friends of the Library. “The Friends are happy to sponsor her event, and I am looking forward to it.”
Fleming will sign copies of her book after her talk and refreshments will be served.
For some of the “legendary locals,” their legacy is all that remains of their time in Edgecombe/ Nash County. Other “legendary locals” are still living and continue to make contributions to their community. One such legend that Fleming will mention in her talk is Susan Fecho, whose portraits of Twin County Hall of Fame inductees are often used in the book and hang in the museum/ hall of fame at the Rocky Mount Train Station.
About half of the people mentioned in Fleming’s book are hall of fame inductees. The book is part of a new series, “Legendary Locals,” by the publisher, Arcadia Publishing, based in Charleston, S.C.
“When the publisher contacted me about the new series, I shared the information about the Twin County Hall of Fame Board of Directors and we thought it would be a good way to promote the museum and hall of fame and to honor the inductees. Every class from 2004 to 2012 has been included in the book,” Fleming said. “To complete the book I looked at other individuals in the Twin Counties who had made outstanding accomplishments but had not yet been inducted…I used the same categories used by the Twin County Hall of Fame – business leaders, community leaders, cultural people including artists, musicians and writers, educators, people connected to science and medicine, military and sports figures.”
The book features more than 150 people in the Twin Counties. Among those who left their mark on the community and are deceased are Robert Barnhill Sr., founder of Barnhill Contracting Company and inductee into the North Carolina Transportation Hall of Fame, and Mabrey Bass, former editor of The Daily Southerner who published a weekly column called “Ramblin,” describing his observations of the community.
Among those in Fleming’s book who are still making contributions to society are Evelyn Shaw Wilson, who became the first African American woman to lead the Edgecombe County Board of Education as the chair in 1995 and currently serves as the board’s vice-chair, and Jeff Craddock, Tarboro High football coach who led his teams to five consecutive North Carolina High School 2A state championship games.
At her talk at the library, Fleming plans to encourage the audience at her talk at the library to nominate individuals for the next Twin County Hall of Fame class. The local author night is part of the Friends’ 60th anniversary celebration. The group will have a booth set up at the upcoming Happening on the Common and is putting together a history of the Friends and the library for display in late August or early September.