The Graveyard of the Atlantic: North Carolina’s Maritime History from Pirate Ships to World War Two

The Graveyard of the Atlantic: North Carolina’s Maritime History from Pirate Ships to World War Two

Date(s) & Location(s):
June 24 - July 12, 2024 in Morganton, NC (In-person portion starts July 7th)
July 1 - 19, 2024 in Morganton, NC (In-person portion starts July 14th)
Grades Eligible:
Rising  10th 11th 12th
Course Description:

The North Carolina coast is frequently referred to as the ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic.’ This moniker is due to the unparalleled number of shipwrecks that have occurred in the waters off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This course will examine the intersection of coastal North Carolina history with the geography, climate, and physical oceanographic properties of North Carolina’s coastal waters where thousands (yes, thousands!) of ocean-bound vessels have met their untimely end. We will look at select known shipwrecks from the sixteenth century through the twentieth; including research being carried out on Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge at East Carolina University and the USS Cythera – a World War 2 vessel that was sunk by German U-boat 80 years ago with a full crew onboard.

This is a humanities course but will take an interdisciplinary approach to contextualize North Carolina’s maritime history. Specifically, elements of archaeology and material culture, oceanography, folklore studies, literary traditions, cultural history, micro-histories, and geographical and climate studies will be incorporated to illuminate the vast and varied past of the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

Christy Davenport
About The Instructor:

Christy Davenport joined NCSSM in July 2023 as an Instructor of American Studies and Humanities on our Morganton campus. She teaches both sections of American Studies and enjoys creating challenging senior Humanities courses that often center around cultural and social American experiences. Christy was born and raised in northeast North Carolina and has traveled extensively throughout the southeast United States. She has lived in Savannah, New Orleans, and other coastal Southern areas. She did her graduate work at Mississippi State University where she completed her master’s in history. She is currently completing her doctorate through the writing of her dissertation entitled “From Sundown to Swamp: Finding Limited Freedom in the Great Dismal Swamp.” Her research interests include Southern US history, cultural history, enslaved culture, early and modern US History, and African American studies. Christy earned her bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education at Elizabeth City State University. She has several publications and has presented at national and international conferences. She is an avid baseball fan, loves the outdoors, is a proud plant and dog mom, and enjoys exploring the Morganton area.

BA, History and Secondary Education, Elizabeth City State University

MA, History, Mississippi State University

PhD ABD, History, Mississippi State University