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32nd Annual NCMHC Conference 2022 Call for Papers: Leisure & Labor on the Carolina Coast

When: December 1-3, 2022

Where: Swansboro Historical Association & Hammocks Beach State Park

The history of Swansboro, North Carolina mirrors numerous other coastal towns along the eastern seaboard of the Carolinas. Named after prominent colonial figure Samuel Swann, the area was settled by 1730 near the site of an Algonkian Indian village at the mouth of the White Oak River, and formally incorporated in 1783. Naval stores and lumber products were the port’s primary exports, and a burgeoning shipbuilding industry began in the area during the late 18th century. The famed War of 1812 privateer, Otway Burns, constructed the first NC-built steamship at his shipyard near Swansboro in 1818. After the Civil War, the lumber industry and commercial fishing became the nucleus of the area’s economy. Several mullet fishing camps in Onslow County were documented by NC photographer Charles A. Farrell in the late 1930s. Highly prized for their flesh and roe, mullet fueled one of the major commercial fisheries in Onslow and Carteret counties. Celebrated annually, the Swansboro Mullet Festival commemorates the fish that fed workers of the White Oak River Bridge that later became a vital link between the two counties.

It wasn’t all work and no play on the Carolina coast. In the 19th and 20th centuries, waterfowl hunters and fishermen made their way to coastal NC to take advantage of the bountiful natural resources of the area. Surfers seeking the next big wave visited North Carolina for more than a century, paddling out from Wrightsville Beach to Shackleford Banks, Cape Hatteras and beyond. The story of maritime recreation on the NC coast also includes racial injustices, where African Americans, American Indians, and other people of color were only allowed on specified beaches, lakes, and resorts in the early to mid-1900s. Hammocks Beach State Park, close to Swansboro on Bear Island, was managed as an African American beach by a chief advocate group for black teachers, the North Carolina Teachers Association, from 1950 to 1961 when it became an official state park. Today, tourists flock to Swansboro and the surrounding area to spend time at the various beaches near the town. These stories and more are essential parts of North Carolina’s maritime history.

The 32nd Annual NC Maritime History Council Conference will be held in Swansboro, NC. The theme of the conference is, “Leisure and Labor on the Carolina Coast.” Potential topics include marine resource extraction (i.e., subsistence or commercial fishing, mariculture, etc.); rice cultivation; shipbuilding; ports and harbors; inland, coastal, and international shipping; maritime labor; recreational watercraft; waterfowl hunting; fishing heritage; watersports; histories of tourism; waterfront segregation, etc. While the conference committee accepts papers on all aspects of maritime history and archaeology related to North or South Carolina, we especially encourage papers that speak to the conference theme. Presentations (formal and informal) by students, both undergraduate and graduate, and independent researchers or members of the community are all welcome and encouraged.

To submit a paper, each individual or group should email the title and a 150-word abstract to the Conference Committee of the NC Maritime History Council, The deadline to submit an abstract for consideration is Friday, October 7, 2022.

Conference Venue: Thursday Reception: Swansboro Area Heritage Center Museum Friday Sessions: Swansboro Area Heritage Center Museum Saturday Sessions: Hammocks Beach State Park

Swansboro Area Heritage Center Museum 502 W Church St Swansboro, NC 28584 Hammocks Beach State Park 1572 Hammocks Beach Rd Swansboro, NC 28584

Swansboro, North Carolina, known as the "Friendly City by the Sea," is a quaint, historic town located on the North Carolina Coast proximal to both the IntraCoastal Waterway and the White Oak River. Swansboro has historical sites to discover, eclectic shops to explore, and lots of 'family-friendly' recreation like biking, hiking, camping, and outdoor concerts.

Conference Hotel:

Hampton Inn & Suites Swansboro Near Camp Lejeune

215 Old Hammock Rd

Swansboro, NC 28584

Office Phone: 910-325-9000

NC Maritime History Council Conference Rate is $96.00 plus taxes.

30 Rooms are available at a discounted rate.


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