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Valerie Nieman posted a blog post

Mountain Words, Mountain Music

Appalachian poet, musician, and raconteur Kirk Judd has a new book and CD package out, "My People Was Music." I thought I'd share part of a Goodreads review I did of the book - I think members of The Read would enjoy this.There is no gussying-up here. This is the plain hard rock undergirding Appalachia. This is the sound of water rushing, the clawhammer banjo sound, the crack of a wedge as it splits that cross-grained stump of oak. Kirk Judd has been making poems for a long time, but like a…See More
22 hours ago
Valerie Nieman posted an event
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Valerie Nieman at City Lights at City Lights Books

July 16, 2015 from 10:30am to 12pm
Coffee With the Poet - Valerie Nieman will read from and discuss her new poetry collection, "Hotel Worthy," poems of love, loss, and survival. See More
22 hours ago
Gary Carter posted a blog post

New Story Published by Deep South Magazine: "Nothing But A House"

It's always an honor to have a new story selected and published, this time by Deep South Magazine -- which I recommend for its coverage of all things Southern and, in particular, its attention to Southern literary voices.Read the story here: "Nothing But A House" by Gary CarterComments are always welcome. Deep South Magazine actually has a unique comment section following each story.See More
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MARYROSE McWHIRTER updated their profile
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Rob Neufeld posted discussions
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City Lights Bookstore posted events
Mar 21
City Lights Bookstore posted events
Mar 18
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Monday's Lie by Jamie Mason

Asheville thriller writer Mason broods with the bestby Rob Neufeld             “Everything you need for measuring a person,” Dee Vess, the heroine and narrator of Jamie Mason’s novel, “Monday’s Lie,” reflects, “can be found in the nature of what he chooses to hide from everyone else.”            It’s a sign of how…See More
Mar 18
Lockie Hunter posted an event
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West End Poetry and Prose Reading Series March Reading at West End Bakery

March 14, 2015 from 7pm to 9pm
We are back for a new Spring session of our Poetry and Prose Reading Series! We hope you are able to join us again Saturday, March 14th, 7pm at the West End Bakery for a wonderful Free family-friendly evening of prose, poetry and storytelling from a group of fabulous local writers.This month we will be featuring: Tommy HaysCaroline Wilson Dalton Dayand Leah ShapiroHosted by Lockie Hunter and our friends at the West End Bakery Cathy Cleary and Krista Stearns.See More
Mar 11
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Mar 11
Sue Diehl posted an event
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William Forstchen discussing his Pillar to the Sky at Bell Library at Montreat College

March 24, 2015 from 3pm to 6pm
Dr. William Forstchen will be the guest author at the Montreat Community Book Club on March 24, 2015 at Bell Library, Montreat College at 3:00.  He will be discussing his novel Pillar to Sky Public is invited.See More
Mar 10
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Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Asheville Poetry Review 20th Anniversary Anthology--and event

Asheville Poetry Review produces 20-year anthologyby Rob Neufeld             The two most remarkable things about the Asheville Poetry Review have been its diversity and quality.  Yes, Asheville, you’ve got a poetry journal of special note here.            Now, 20 years after its locally born…See More
Mar 8
City Lights Bookstore posted an event
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Carolina McMullen Reading & Signing at City Lights Bookstore

March 14, 2015 from 3pm to 4:30pm
Carolina McMullen will read from her new novel Vicenta de Paul on Saturday, March 14th at 3:00 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore. As the first novel of her Not Here to Stay series, Vicenta de Paul tells of a baby who is abandoned by her young mother at an orphanage in Rota, Spain in 1914.  She is later adopted by a wealthy couple and raised in the peaceful coastal area of Rota, away from the busy city. Everything seems fine until her mother begins to suffer from depression.  Vicenta pulls through…See More
Mar 7
Patti Jensen posted an event

Murders, Moonshine & Mountaineers Book Discussion & Signing at The Market on Oak

March 21, 2015 from 11am to 12pm
The Market on Oak in Spruce Pine will host Allen Cook, author of Murders, Moonshine & Mountaineers: The Wildest County in America on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 11A.M.Moonshine, Murder & Mountaineers recounts a time around the turn of the 19th century when moonshiners and desperadoes faced off against the law in epic battles that made national headlines. The book focuses on events from an area in western North Carolina that held the reputation as the wildest county in America (book has…See More
Mar 5

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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