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City Lights Bookstore posted events
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Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Salman Rushdie come to Asheville with new novel

Atheist believes in genies, novel revealsby Rob Neufeld             Salman Rushdie’s latest novel—“Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights” (1,001 nights)—has permitted me to come up with a headline as wild as the one above because the book is so exuberantly and infectiously…See More
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City Lights Bookstore posted events
Feb 6
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Jan 31
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

73 classic works about Appalachia going online

Key Appalachian studies publications now going onlinefrom press release, Jan. 27. 2016 Appalachian studies scholars and those interested in regional history will have greater access to out-of-print works thanks to a two-year National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Open Book Program grant totaling $88,000 awarded to Belk Library and Information Commons at Appalachian State University.  Pamela Mitchem, the library’s coordinator of digital scholarship and…See More
Jan 30
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

John Parris' home-grown prose

South of Sylva, back of yesterday: John Parris' inspiration             “For the life of me, I just can’t understand why folks stopped usin’ cradles,” John Parris’ 97-year-old maternal grandfather had told him 60 years ago.            The oil lamp, the buggy, and the spinning wheel—they all were replaced by things…See More
Jan 27
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

James Sturm expands scope of graphic novels

James Sturm blazes cartoon path to a new worldby Rob Neufeld             Why is it that when an author combines pictures with words, the medium is considered juvenile, like comics?  Words create literature; images, art.  Why, when you marry them, is it like pairing a milk cow with a mop?            Nothing against…See More
Jan 24
susannah eanes posted a blog post

The Writer as Pilgrim

Two articles leapt at my consciousness this week, both about writing. And suddenly, I know how to go forward from here. The first, The Price I Pay to Write, by Laura Bogart and published online in Dame Magazine, reflects on the difficulties of…See More
Jan 24
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Tired of thrillers with no soul?

Why read a 1940 man-on-the-run classicby Rob Neufeld             After reading a classic novel, you might think, “Oh, look at this superior ancestor of today’s fiction.”              For instance, “The Power and the Glory,” Graham Greene’s 1940 thriller about political oppression in Mexico, exemplifies the…See More
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Susan True updated their profile
Jan 9
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Art of Grace by Sarah Kaufman

Dance critic applies grace to every moveby Rob Neufeld             It’s nice to find just the right word for something, especially when it sums up a main idea in your way of thinking.            That was the case with Sarah Kaufman when she’d first felt moved, nine years ago, to write her new book, “The Art of Grace” (W.W.…See More
Jan 9
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Fire and Ice Roses interview with author/gardening blogger Kathryn Hall

Fire and Ice Roses has been interviewing gardening bloggers and gardening experts and were kind enough to include this short interview recently which was quite fun and very much appreciated! http://fireandiceroses.com/ask-an-expert-kathryn-hall/See More
Jan 5
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

History in the making, January 2, 2016

History in the making: items of note, January 2, 2016It was reported in today’s print edition of the Asheville Citizen-Times that a new state law went into effect, requiring people who’ve filed for unemployment benefits to make at least 5 job contacts a week.  It had been 2.  How will that work?  Are there that many jobs for which a person is qualified?  Can you apply to the same job twice if it continues to be listed? Paul Bonesteel, noted Asheville filmmaker, revealed on Facebook that a…See More
Jan 2
Rob Neufeld posted a blog post

Local event of the day, Jan 1 2016

Tarantino, eminent domain, and emancipation Tarantino comes to townQuentin Tarantino’s New Year’s gore and gabfest, The Hateful Eight, is gutted by New Yorker reviewer Anthony Lane, who says that Tarantino toys with rather than explores history, using it “for boyish fantasies of revenge, as if enormous crimes could be undone, after the event, by lone and wanton acts of humiliation.” …See More
Jan 1

2nd Amendment protects need for militias? How has that worked?

Armed citizen conflicts included rash acts in WNC

by Rob Neufeld

 

            A member of “The Read on WNC” has linked me to a YouTube video, “The Battle of Athens: Restoring the Rule of Law,” which he says is “the real reason why we have the 2nd Amendment.”

            The video re-enacts the illegal seizure of ballot boxes by a McMinn County, Tenn. political boss who wanted to avoid losing the race for sheriff in 1946; and the reclamation of those boxes by returning war veterans by force of arms.

            In the wake of the most recent mass shootings, and the strengthened call for gun control, the militia justification for personal arsenals has gained prominence.  Though the 2d Amendment protects arms ownership because “a well regulated militia” is “necessary to the security of a free state,” the concept of a militia has been expanded to any insurrectionist group opposing an oppressive government.

            Two test questions arise.  How oppressive does a government have to get for armed resistance to be justified?  And, do supporters of militias support the right of all oppressed groups to go to war against those whom they see as oppressors?

            Collateral consequences of an armed citizenship are not the subject of this article.  It should be noted, however that, in the “Battle of Athens” movie, the warfare is caused in part by two irresponsible weapons discharges—first the shooting of a poll watcher by an overanxious deputy; and then a premature firing on the county jail, where the lawmen are holed up.  The movie does not show the brutality and murders caused by an anti-government mob that the veterans could not control after deputies had surrendered.

            History is the subject of this article.  Examples of citizen-at-arms in the region help to broaden the subject.

           

The Regulator Movement

 

            Many ancestors of Western North Carolinians opposed the state colonial governors in the 1760s and 70s when tax and debt collectors pulled the kind of greedy tricks that Robin Hood had opposed going up against the Sheriff of Nottingham.  The farmers in what had then been known as the western counties (Rowan, Anson, Orange, Granville) formed the Regulator Movement.

            In 1768, the Regulators sacked Hillsborough, and symbolically put human waste on the judge’s seat and a long-dead slave at the lawyer’s bar in the courthouse.  Eastern politicians summoned the militia. 

            The conflict came to head at the Battle of Alamance, May 16, 1771, when the state’s well-regulated militia overwhelmed the Regulators’ not well-regulated one.  Each side suffered about nine deaths.  Seven Regulator leaders were executed; the rest, pardoned.

           

Polling day in Marshall

 

            In Madison County, when people were voting throughout North Carolina for or against secession on May 13, 1861, the Sheriff got drunk, bullied Unionists, and brandished a gun, writes William R. Trotter in “Bushwhackers.”  “Huzzah for Jeff Davis!” was met by cries of “Hurrah for Washington and the Union!” 

             The sheriff shot at one Unionist, who dove away, and the Unionist’s son was killed.  The sheriff ran to the second floor of a house, and said, bring it on.  The Unionist fired and wounded the sheriff.  The constable raced up the stairs, followed by the father, who pushed past the constable and finished the sheriff off. 

 

The Kirk-Holden police action

 

            In June 1870, the Republican governor, William Holden, commissioned Col. George Kirk, the notorious Civil War guerilla raider, to lead a militia unit, composed of WNC and East Tennessee men, to take over the town of Yanceyville in the wake of Klan violence (including an assassination and a lynching) against Reconstruction officials.  Asheville Republican leaders opposed Kirk’s appointment.

            Kirk arrested suspected Klan conspirators in fields and homes, ignoring habeas corpus.  When Holden heard that Kirk had tortured one man for information, he wrote Kirk forbidding such action.  The Federal government eventually enforced habeas corpus, freeing most prisoners.  Holden was impeached on Dec. 14, 1870; and removed from office, March 22, 1871.  The Republicans lost power for many years.

 

Shoot-out at Highlands Inn

 

            In 1885, the town of Moccasin, Ga. declared war on Highlands, N.C. when a Federal revenuer impounded two Moccasin bootleggers in the Highlands House (now Inn).  Armed volunteers from Moccasin bivouacked behind the Central House across the street, and warfare proceeded for three days.  A Highlands sniper killed a Georgia man from a roof, and the Georgians went home, vowing revenge.

            Highlands recruited gunmen from surrounding towns.  Moccasin responded by cutting off the trade route.  Joel Lovin, a Confederate veteran, left Highlands to resolve the stand-off and came upon the Billingsley boys in Georgia, who passed without incident.  “Uncle Lovin returned with supplies from Walhalla,” Randolph Shaffner writes in “Heart of the Blue Ridge.”

 

The Will Harris murders

 

            On Nov. 13, 1906,  Will Harris, an African American war veteran and Asheville worker, killed five men around Pack Square, fled, and was killed by a posse in a barrage of bullets.  His body was displayed in a South Main St. (now Biltmore Ave.) funeral home window.

 

Violence against African-Americans in Spruce Pine

 

            On September 26, 1923, 200 white citizens of Spruce Pine, led by a sheriff’s deputy, marched to the feldspar miners’ shanty town to evict every black citizen from the area.  News had spread that John Goss, an African-American, had escaped from a prison road crew at about the time that a 75-year old white woman reported having been raped.

            Governor Cameron Morrison called in the National Guard to enable the return of African-Americans.  African-American labor was essential to the area’s booming new industry.  Goss was sentenced in a rushed trial and executed.

 

The Marion textile mill strike

 

            ‘’For God’s sake, stop, men.  Don’t kill any more,” “Time” magazine reported McDowell County Sheriff Oscar F. Adkins shouting as his deputies shot strikers at the Marion Mill on Oct. 2, 1929, killing six. 

            Brutal conditions at the mill had led workers to engage the United Textile Workers; and they were joined by Clinchfield millworkers.  Negotiations fell apart when Clinchfield president B. Mabry Hart walked out.

            Adkins deputized anti-union factory workers, including one who had gone on a shooting rampage against factory workers in their village, Mike Lawing reported in his book, “The Marion Massacre.”

            The deputies had rifles; the workers, sticks and stones.  The first shots came from the mill gate, where deputies were stationed.  In the end, the lawmen were acquitted and union organizing did not return to Marion.

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