Lenovo’s Work for Humankind initiative comes to Pender County

Lenovo partnered with the Mountains-To-Sea Trail and Elizabeth City State University through its Work for Humankind initiative to place a tech-enabled interactive trailhead marker in the Burgaw Train Depot to help preserve Pender County’s diverse history.

“Lenovo selected three sites with a rich history in diversity,” said Tammy Proctor, Pender County Tourism director.

Documented history, such as the Pender County African American Heritage Trail, the CF Pope documentary, and the work of local historians such as Dr. Richard Newkirk, Claudia Stack of Stack Stories, LLC, the work by the community of
Canetuck and the Canetuck/Rosenwald School, Michael Taylor, Craig and Carla Torrey from Ocean City, and the staff at Moores Creek National Battlefield put Pender County at the forefront of Lenovo and the Work for Humankind project.

“Lenovo is proud to partner with ECSU and Pender County to ensure that the history of the area is preserved through this new permanent fixture,” said Lenovo North America Chief Marketing Officer Gerald Youngblood in a press release. “The Work for Humankind initiative hopes to inspire the use of technology for good through historical and environmental conservation. This trailhead marker is one example of how we can utilize technology to honor and preserve local history.”

Students from Elizabeth City State University visited Pender County in May for several days. Pender County Tourism arranged for the students to interview local historians and visit historic sites.

“The students were a delight, full of enthusiasm, and equipped with the best Lenovo technology,” said Proctor.

Verta Kea, Patricia Smith, Kenneth Keith, and Mr. Moore, were instrumental in organizing the first student visit to the Canetuck School. Dr. Richard Newkirk and Claudia Stack, both educators and documentarians, met with the students in the Work for Humankind initiative to share the successes and sacrifices of the Black communities who built their own schools during segregation.

Keith treated the students to a visit to the home used in the filming of The Conjuring. It was a side trip the students thoroughly enjoyed.

On Wednesday morning, the students traveled to Moores Creek National Battlefield where they met with park staff who provided the historical significance of the Battle of Moores Creek Bridge.

Wednesday afternoon the students visited the Historic Train Depot with retired library director and historian Michael Taylor, and Burgaw Parks and Recreation Director Cody Suggs. There the students learned about the construction of the train depot
and the importance of the railway during the Civil War.

The students had planned to cook hotdogs over a campfire, but when tempted with a sit-down dinner at MeMa’s Chick’n & Ribs, they quickly opted for dinner at MeMa’s with Pender County Tourism.

The last stop of the week was in Ocean City, just north of Surf City. Established in 1949, Ocean City has a significant history in that it was the first beachfront vacation spot where Blacks could purchase property.

The students were given a tour and history by Carla and Craig Torrey and Kenneth Chestnut.

After leaving Pender County in May, the students created a video and slideshow for the digital trailhead.

The trailhead is a touchscreen kiosk that required shelter from the elements and electricity.

“We felt the best place for the kiosk was the Historic Burgaw Train Deport, in the train museum,” said Proctor.

On Aug. 11, Lenovo and NP Strategy personnel assembled the kiosk at the train depot.

“The MST is 1,175 miles across North Carolina,” said Proctor, who is also a member of the Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail’s board of directors. “To be selected for this project was a huge honor. It’s only fitting that the kiosk is located in the MST segment named ‘The Land of History.’”