Le Mois de la Francophonie


The French Heritage of North Carolina

by Dr. Dudley Marchi, NCSU

In English
Wednesday 10 March

The Tar Heel State might not be the first place one would expect to find French influence. In fact, most people associate early North Carolina with English influence.

But a new book by NC State Professor Dudley Marchi explores the many connections between French culture and the Old North State, and reveals that the first European explorers to the North Carolina region, dating back to 1524, were, in fact, French.

Towns such as Bath, Beaufort, New Bern, and La Grange are testimony to the settlements of French Huguenots in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


The city of Fayetteville is named after the Marquis de Lafayette, a French ally during the American Revolution.


French Huguenots migrated to the state as early as 1690 and many North Carolinians have last names of French origin. North Carolina has many other place names and remnants of French presence since the early colonial period.


In this presetnation, Dr. Marchi will trace the historical presence of the French in NC from the state's origins to the present, and tell the story of a little-known but important part of the state's cultural heritage. 

Dr. Dudley M. Marchi received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.  He has been a faculty member in the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures at NC State University since 1989. Dr. Marchi's publications include Montaigne among the Moderns: Receptions of the Essais, and Baudelaire, Emerson, and the French-American Connection: Contrary Affinities. 


Dr. Marchi's book FraNCe,  coming out in Spring 2021, is the second volume of his research on the French heritage in North Carolina.

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