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AAHC Board of Directors: 2023 Officers and New Members

(New Bern, NC January 20, 2023) During its recent meeting of the Board of Directors at St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, the African American Heritage and Culture Center leadership elected new Directors and its 2023 Officers to the Board of Directors.

Elected to the Board of Directors for their first three-year term are Rosanne Wilson and Blake Wiggs. Re-elected to the Board of Directors for a second three-year term is Mike Williams. They join continuing Board members Carol Bonner Becton, Jim Copland, Valerie Taylor Best, Rick Fisher, Tahira Coble Copland and Joy Harsen.

Serving as 2023 Officers are individuals who are known in the region and our community: Mike Williams – President, Roseanne Wilson – Vice President, Joy Harsen - Secretary, and Jim Copland - Treasurer.

Mike Williams thanked retiring President Carol Bonner Becton for her leadership during 2021 and 2022. “Under Carol’s leadership, AAHC successfully launched the ORAL HISTORY LIBRARY with new interviews and its first interview with a live audience at New Bern Civic Theatre’s “Studio”. Throughout the year, Carol interviewed local sorority leaders, historically black church leaders. Three interviews with Nelson McDaniels and Carol explored three remarkable outcomes of ‘The Great Fire of 1922’ in New Bern – the founding of Good Shepherd Hospital, The Colored Library, now the Charlotte Rhone Cultural Center, and The Rhone Hotel featured in ‘The Green Book’ ”. A November 30th interview by historian Bernard George with New Bernian Rick Fisher about the St. Joseph’s Missionary Church and School on Bern Street was presented at the New Bern Civic Theatre “Studio” with a live audience.

These new interviews were added to a collection of previously recorded interviews from the City of New Bern and “Bicentennial Minutes” from Craven Community College with PRE. AAHC thanks producer Ni Zhang, Photographer Norman J. McCullough and New Bern Artist Jill Eberle for their support. The ORAL HISTORY LIBRARY is free for use and readily available at . The community is invited to suggest ideas for new interviews with community leaders – contact AAHC:

“I look forward to working with AAHC colleagues and our partners to re-launch AAHC Community Forums as we emerge from the restrictions of COVID over the last two years” said newly elected President, Mike Williams. “Forums will be open to the public and include a wide range of topics: notable community leaders of the past, historic Black Churches of New Bern, and a series of presentations later in 2023 related to “The Great Fire of 1922” in New Bern “. Additional events will include art exhibits and musical programs.

The Board of Directors value their collaboration with fellow AAHC leaders on its Board of Advisors: Jacqueline B. Atkinson, Sabrina Bengel, Mark Best, Maria Cho, D’Aja Fulmore, Bernard George, Lynne Harakal, Edward Hood, Leesa Jones, Gerry King, Nelson McDaniel, Mickey Miller, Andrea Nix, George Oliver, Jaki Shelton Green, Larry Rosenstrauch, The Reverend Garry Slade, and Ben Watford.

Organizations, individuals and community leaders from around the region are invited to collaborate with AAHC during 2023 to present programs, events and exhibits which support AAHC’s mission: “to promote the historic impact and progression of African American heritage and culture in our region”.

Rosanne Wilson, AAHC Vice President

Joy Harsen, AAHC Secretary

Jim Copland, AAHC Treasurer

Director Blake Wiggs

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