Tryon Palace Honors 97-Year-Old Son of N.C. Colored Infantry Soldier

Luke Martin, Jr

‘Epic Memories of An American Family: the Luke Martin Story’ Set for Sept. 18

 “Epic Memories of An American Family: the Luke Martin Story” will bring one of New Bern’s most historic family stories to life on Thursday, Sept. 18. Held as a presentation of the Tryon Palace African American Lecture Series and the New Bern Historical Society, this inspirational night will honor 97-year-old Luke P. Martin, Jr.

This free event will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. in the North Carolina History Center, and include a brief reception.

Born the son of Pvt. Luke Martin, Sr., who served in the North Carolina Colored Infantry during the Civil War, Martin, Jr. grew up to become one of the lead brick masons of Tryon Palace’s  reconstruction in the 1950s. Martin, Jr. went on to teach vocational classes for 20 years at Pamlico County High and is the oldest living member of St. John Missionary Baptist Church, where his father served as the church’s third pastor.

Visitors will also be able to see “Freedom for All,” a traveling exhibit of illustrated informational panels that outline the struggle for freedom by the enslaved people in North Carolina and the nation. While this exhibit has traveled to several state historic sites this year, the North Carolina History Center is the first to exhibit items from the Martin family collection. Among those items is a rifle owned by Pvt. Luke Martin, Sr. that has the name “Martin” carved into the stock.

“Epic Memories of an American Family” is offered as part of the Tryon Palace African American Lecture Series, held on the third Thursday of each month. All performances begin at 7 p.m. in Cullman Performance Hall and are free, thanks to a generous donation from the Harold H. Bate Foundation. Special hearing devices are available if needed. Contact Tryon Palace 48 hours in advance of the performance to make arrangements.

Upcoming events at Tryon Palace include:

Sept. 27: Teacher Day at Tryon Palace

Sept. 27: Fall Family Day

Sept. 27: Kitchens of New Bern Tour

Oct. 10-12: MumFest Weekend

Oct. 24: 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Concert

Dec. 13 and 20: Eve of Revolution: A Candlelight Celebration

For more information call 252-639-3500 or visit

Submitted by: Craig Ramey, Marketing and Communications, Manager, Tryon Palace