Posts Tagged ‘James K. Polk’

Fall train excursions, untold stories of the Civil War and a brief history of chocolate are just a few of the fun events that you’ll find this weekend at the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Start your weekend off tomorrow night at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem with the screening of a documentary on famed artist William Kentridge’s artistic philosophy and creative process.

Explore the Greek gods in sculpture Friday at the N.C. Museum of Art

The focus on the arts will continue Friday, when the N.C. Art Museum in Raleigh shows This Gun for Hire as part of its “Femme Fatale” movie series and presents gallery tours that explore how the Greek gods and goddesses are portrayed in stone.

Saturday morning, discover how you can record and preserve your family’s history through oral histories at a workshop hosted by the State Library and State Archives in Raleigh, or have lunch while listening to a lecture about the work of the work of Edvard Munch at the N.C. Museum of Art across town. Throughout the day, the President James K. Polk State Historic Site in Pineville will celebrate our 11th president’s birthday by recreating life as it was in 1795, while Tryon Palace will put on programs about the history of chocolate and alcohol in America.

Round your weekend out Sunday by spending the day on a train ride to Georgia and back with the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer, or listening to alternative histories of several famous Civil War battles at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh.

All weekend long, the N.C. Symphony will present a concert of Hayden and Mahler in Raleigh and Wilmington, while Tryon Palace will host performances of the Tony Award-winning play, God of Carnage.

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Reenactors at Polk Birthplace in Pineville.

Charlotte’s Got a Lot estimates that between 30,000 and 35,000 people will come to Charlotte as part of the Democratic National Convention slated to take place next week. To help all those out-of-towners make the most of their visit to the Tar Heel state, we’ve collected some great cultural experiences and attractions in the greater Charlotte area.

Two wonderful art museums in the heart of Charlotte—both supported by the N.C. Arts Council—are currently playing host to first-rate politically-themed exhibitions. “Read My Pins” at the Mint Museum Uptown gives visitors the opportunity to explore the history of American foreign policy through the jewelry of former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Albright is famous for wearing decorative pins to send diplomatic messages. The Mint’s Vote for Art Project, which kicks off September 1, also invites visitors to explore politics in a unique way.

The Light Factory, also located in uptown Charlotte, has two exhibitions that explore politics through photography and film. “We are Charlotte” gives Charlotte high school students the opportunity to communicate their political beliefs through images and video, while “Out In the Streets” chronicles the 1968 Democratic National Convention through the eyes of photographers caught in fighting between police and protestors.

If history is more your thing, the area offers plenty of opportunities, too. The President James K. Polk State Historic Site, in Pineville, about 12 miles from downtown, preserves Polk’s birth place and explores the history of his presidential term. About a half hour east, Reed Gold Mine in Midland gives visitors the chance to pan for gold at the site of the first documented find of the ore in the United States, and the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer offers a glimpse into our industrial past on the grounds of a former Southern Railway’s steam locomotive repair facility.

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With a national political convention taking place in Charlotte next month, I invite visitors and North Carolinians, alike, to visit the President James K. Polk State Historic Site.  Polk remains a political icon, and is one of the most highly regarded presidents among scholars and experts.

James Knox Polk, the 11thpresident of the United States, was born in North Carolina in 1795.   While the original log home on the Polk’s farm in Mecklenburg County, just south of Charlotte, has disappeared, a cabin accurate to the period is open to the public at the Polk site.

Reconstructed log cabin similar to one young James K. Polk lived in at the Pres. James K. Polk State Historic Site near Pineville.

Polk and his family moved to Tennessee in 1806 to reunite with other family members already there.  He returned to his home state to attend the University of North Carolina, where he graduated with honors in 1818.   Of his Chapel Hill days he later recalled, “It was here that I received lessons of instructions to which I mainly attribute whatever of success or advancement has attended me in subsequent life.”

After graduation Polk returned to Tennessee to study law.   His first election was to the state legislature in 1823. He then became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and served for 14 years, including 4 as speaker.  In 1837 he was elected Governor of Tennessee for one term.

President James K. Polk

A staunch Democrat, Polk narrowly won election to the Presidency over Henry Clay in 1844, making him the youngest president to that date at age 49.

Polk entered the presidency with a clear plan of action; foremost was westward expansion. Seen by contemporaries as conscientious and attentive to the needs of the country, in his Presidential campaign, he promised not to run for a second term.  True to his word, he did not.

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