Come to North Carolina a day early for Woodworking in America (the conference is Sept, 12-14 in Winston-Salem, N.C.) and make plans to visit the Thomas Day House/Union Tavern (a National Historic Landmark) in Milton, N.C. between 1-5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept 11.
Jerome Bias (who is speaking in Day and his work at the annual woodworking conference) has organized special tours to introduce you to Day’s home and shop, and give you a preview of his WIA talk.
Day was a free African-American man born around the turn of the 19th century in Virginia; he moved to Milton, N.C., in 1823, and opened a cabinet shop that would become one of the most successful in the state (he moved to the Union Tavern location in 1848). He made furniture and architectural woodwork for many leading citizens, including the governor. Recently, Day’s work has been displayed in a number of prominent venues, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the North Carolina Museum of History (where you’ll find a statue of Day in front of the museum).
And if you can’t make it to the tour and WIA (and actually, even if you can/will), I urge you to read Jerome’s article, “Thomas Day” (it’s free on our site).
Day’s life story launched Jerome on a new career path, and led him to where he is today. (Among other things (he’s a bit of a polymath), Jerome now works part time as a historical interpreter at Old Salem Museum & Gardens, where he makes furniture for the living history museum, plus he builds custom furniture in his own shop. He’s also on the board of directors at Historic Stagville, and works with Crafting Freedom, an organization that helps to integrate lessons from traditional crafts and African-American craftspeople into school curricula.)