ESU Colonial NC Branch

Message from the President

Dear Members,

In addition to supporting the national ESU English in Action program, our branch is an advocate for the local literacy programs that offer area immigrants and students the opportunity to gain fluency and confidence in conversational English, pursue citizenship, and acquire the confidence to participate fully in our society.

Last September, our Branch gave a major contribution to the Department of Education's, English as a Second Language Program and we are partnering with the Literacy Council to kick-off the first annual Derby Day at the Farm, a major fundraising two-day event that will be held on May 1 and 2. Proceeds will be divided between our branch and the Literacy Council. The catalyst for organizing this event is the program scheduled for May 1 with James P. Beckwith Jr, who recounts the remarkable story, "All in the Family Sir Archie, and Henry from the 1780 Epsom Derby to the Great Match of 1823". This was the first sporting event to capture the imagination of the young republic, causing Congress to adjourn and the stock market to close.

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News And Events

January 18, 2020 Program

George Mason:
Forgotten Founding Father

The January 18, program, held Saturday, 1 pm, in the Harrison Center, 311 Middle Street, downtown New Bern is free and open to ESU members, their guests and the public.

Dr. David C. Skaggs' presentation, George Mason: Forgotten Founding Father, focuses on this founding father who served in the fourth and fifth Virginia Conventions in 1775 and 1776 and prepared the drafts for the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the first Constitution of Virginia. A delegate from his home state to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he refused to sign the document because of the absence of a bill of rights. He opposed the federal constitution in the Virginia Ratifying Convention of 1788 and his principled argument for a declaration of rights led James Madison to champion ten amendments to the Constitution that supported Mason's ideas in what became the Bill of Rights. 


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February 15, Luncheon Program

An Unexpected Journey:
29 Years at the
Central Intelligence Agency

On Saturday, February 15, 12 noon, the Colonial NC Branch's luncheon program entitled, An Unexpected Journey: 29 Years at the Central Intelligence Agency, presented by Elinor Kelly Wilson, will be held at the New Bern Golf and Country Club. Elinor will discuss her exciting 29-year career with the CIA, a federal agency whose primary mission is to collect, analyze and disseminate foreign intelligence to assist the President and senior U.S. government officials in making important national security decisions.  Elinor, who retired as a member of the CIA's Senior Intelligence Service, will talk about recruiting foreign spies and managing spy operations as an operations officer, as well as her work in building and running a CIA innovation center which developed and implemented cutting edge methods to identify foreign targets for recruitment by operations officers.


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March 7, 5th Annual Shakespeare Dinner

A Midwinter Night's Dream, the theme of the 5th Annual Dining with Shakespeare fundraiser, is on Saturday, March 7, 5:30 p.m. at the New Bern Golf & Country Club (4301 Country Club Road). The $50 per person ticket (cash bar) includes, hors d'oeuvres, entertainment during the 3-course meal accompanied by short Shakespearean interludes and a silent auction. To add color and fun to the festivities, attendees are encouraged to dress in Elizabethan garb, or as their favorite character in Midsummer's Night Dream. Judged by audience appeal, winners will be awarded prizes. 

Click here to purchase tickets online. 


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April 4 Luncheon Program

Pocahontas, From Jamestown to the British Royal Court

On April 4, a luncheon program, "Pocahontas, From Jamestown to the British Royal Court" will be held at the New Bern Golf & Country Club for members and guests. 

Lou Johanson's presentation, Pocahontas, From Jamestown to the British Royal Court, focuses on, the Native American princess of the Powhatan Confederacy during the time of the colonization of Jamestown, the first permanent settlement in 1607, located in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Captured by the Colonists during hostilities in 1613, her relationship with the English colonists helped bring healing between Native Americans and the Europeans. Pocahontas' acceptance of Christianity led to her marriage in 1614 to John Rolfe, a member of the colony, who was a native of Heachem England. In 1616, they traveled to England where this Native American princess was presented to English society and became a celebrity.

Purchase tickets online at this link. 


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May Events 2020

On May 1, 7 p.m., "The ultimate Sir Archie Experience" – Orringer Auditorium 

Jim Beckwith's  presentation, All in the Family: Diomed, Sir Archie, and Henry, from the 1780 Epsom Derby to the Grand Match Race of 1823 – tells the story of Diomed, the great English racer who came to Virginia late in life, was the father of Sir Archie and became the great foundation sire of the American thoroughbred. His son Henry, foaled near Halifax, NC, ran against Diomed's grandson, American Eclipse in the Great Match Race of 1823 in Long Island. This was the first sporting event to capture the imagination of the young republic, causing Congress to adjourn and the stock market to close. The program, includes an exhibit, "All things Sir Archie," and is open to members, their guests and the public.

May 2, Saturday, 4 – 8 p.m.

Derby Day at the Farm, Dancing Branch Farm, Airport Road. 


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The English-Speaking Union

Colonial NC Branch

Colonial NC Branch Landmark Photo