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December 8, 2022 45 mins

What did Christmas look like for the enslaved people of Colonial Wilmington? While no holiday celebration was guaranteed, the port city's streets were often a stage granted to enslaved communities for a display of their culture known as John Kuners or John Canoe.

With the help of special guest Dr. Tara White, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, this episode looks at why slave owners allowed these traditions to take place and how the enslaved used them to assert their individuality and power within an institution that didn’t give them much of either. In the episode, we explore why the holidays were a time of negotiation between slave and enslaver, and how the John Canoe celebrations became so associated with Wilmington.

Be sure to come grab your copy of Louis T. Moore's "Stories Old and New of the Cape Fear Region," on which this new season is based, in the Burgwin-Wright House gift shop today!

This podcast is sponsored by Durable Restoration Company.

For more information about the Burgwin-Wright House and to learn how to support the house, visit

Cover art design by Rachel Ross.

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