Bertie County is a rural county located in the eastern region of North Carolina. As of the 2019, the population was only 19, 380. The largest population by age group at that time consisted of residents who were age 65+. “The county was created in 1722 as Bertie Precinct and gained county status in 1739.” (Wikipedia) Yes, Bertie (Ber-tee, not Ber-ty) is a place—much more than the bus in the animated series, “Thomas and Friends.” lol
When asked where we’re from, many natives of the county fondly blurt out, Bertie, completely bypassing actual city names. Well, there really are cities—Windsor (the county seat), Aulander, Lewiston Woodville, Colerain, Kelford, Askewville, Powellsville, and Roxobel. This large county (approximately 699 square miles) of several small cities and townships is also a showcase of beautiful Rivers: Cashie River, Chowan River, Roanoke River, Sandy Run, Barbeque Swamp, Keel Creek, Fort Branch, and Mill Branch–some names I don’t even recognize. As beautiful as the scenery is–its rivers, tobacco fields, sage fields, vast farm lands, and even a public beach (Bertie Beach), Bertie is also known for Bunn’s Barbeque and the famous Bertie County Peanuts. Above all, it is a county of beautiful, humble, resilient people, with drive, determination and talent. I am a part of this culture, as I was raised in the Republican community of Snakebite township. I’m so proud of my hometown!
During Black History Month 2021, TCV is shining a light on just a few of the talented, success stories of this rural, yet rich-at-heart county in North Carolina. Get ready for four short, yet revealing and informative interviews, captured as, “I Am Bertie Black History.” The line-up includes Dr. Otis Smallwood, William “DD” Hoggard, The Honorable Vershenia Ballance-Moody, and Arthur “Boo Boo” Gaskins! These amazing people will be featured via separate posts throughout the month of February 2021. I’m so excited!
It is so important to recognize and honor those whose stories may not make the classroom history books, however, should be ever present in our minds. These four people are examples of how location, an impoverished county, and the lack of exposure that a large metropolitan city provides, are no hinderance to achieving great things–whether fully or partially experiencing your dreams. Children need to understand and connect with that, as well as adults. I hope that you enjoy the features, and submit names of people who you would like included during Black History Month and beyond. Stay tuned!
Peace & Blessings,