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Interview with Gail Godwin about Grief Cottage

Started by Rob Neufeld in AC-T Book Reviews Aug 3, 2017.

Ellington in Asheville--a survey

Started by Rob Neufeld in Local History Oct 6, 2017.

Dave Minneman, heroic portrait

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Caroline McIntyre posted events
Apr 29
Rob Neufeld updated their profile
Apr 13
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

Flat Rock history via a road

Travelling back in time on a Flat Rock roadby Rob Neufeld             If you walk the one mile length of North Highland Lake Road in Flat Rock, you step nearly 200 years into the past.            At the east end, the 21st century reigns.  Fronting six-lane Spartanburg Highway, a super-Ingles sits above a bog; and a CVS store faces an Octopus Garden smoke shop, a chiropractor, a cell phone provider, and a six-lane avenue to I-26 a mile away .            Neither Ingles nor CVS carries the big…See More
Apr 8
George Ellison left a comment for Renea Winchester
"luv ya Renea ... Kephart bio finally done after 40 years ... free at last ... free at last... great god almighty ... free a last!"
Apr 5
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event
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Connie Regan-Blake Storytelling at Hendersonville Public Library at Henderson County Public Library - Main Branch

June 13, 2019 from 6pm to 7pm
Join Connie Regan-Blake for a family oriented evening of stories at the Hendersonville Library.See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake presents A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories at Black Mountain Center for the Arts

April 6, 2019 from 7:30pm to 9pm
Please join nationally celebrated storyteller, Connie Regan-Blake, as she hosts her workshop participants in an enchanting evening of storytelling in “A Slice of Life: An Evening of Stories.” Here are the tellers for our April 6th “Slice of Life” performance.  Christine Phillips Westfeldt, Kyra Freeman, Steve Tate, Alberta Hipps and more! The event is hosted by the …See More
Apr 1
Connie Regan-Blake updated an event
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Connie Regan-Blake's Taking Your Story to the Stage Workshop at StoryWindow Productions

April 5, 2019 to April 7, 2019
The focus of this “Taking Your Story to the Stage” 3-day workshop is on storytelling performance. Each participant is asked to come with a story that is almost “stage-ready.” Set in Connie’s home tucked in the beautiful mountains surrounding Asheville, NC, this workshop provides a supportive,…See More
Apr 1
Rap Monster posted a blog post

Stealth Hazy - 'Gun Clap'

Stealth Hazy - Gun ClapI got 80 rounds with a beam on it riding dirty I'm smoking chronic top off hear that system pound 808 thats subsonicI double down quadruple upstraight droppin with no cutwilt chamberlain on the reboundand you a fan just starstruckI…See More
Mar 26
Connie Regan-Blake posted an event

Connie Regan-Blake’s 14th Annual Summer Storytelling Retreat & Adventure at StoryWindow Productions

July 14, 2019 at 10am to July 20, 2019 at 4pm
Come to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville for 7 days of story-listening & story-telling along with coaching, community & supportive exploration. This 14th annual workshop welcomes all levels of expertise, from beginner to experienced teller. Participants discover ways of being in the world that nurture your creative flow while developing skills to: Find, create, learn, and polish storiesEffectively integrate voice with image,…See More
Mar 2
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Feb 8
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Montreat College Friends of the Library Celebrate National Library Week at Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College, Montreat, NC

April 9, 2019 from 3pm to 5pm
Patti Callahan, author of the recent novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and Don W. King author of Out of My Bone: the Letters of Joy Davidman, A Naked Tree: Love Sonnets to C. S. Lewis, and Yet One More Spring: a Critical Study of Joy Davidman, will co-present on their works about Joy and her husband C.S. Lewis.  The event is free and open to the public on April 9, 2019 in Graham Chapel, Gaither Hall, Montreat College.Reception and Book signing to followSee More
Feb 8
William Roy Pipes posted a discussion

TWO NEW APPALACHIAN NOVELS

I have, just released two Appalachian Novels.OUT OF THE SHADOWS, begins deep in the Appalachian Mountains of in WNC. It is partly a true story about a young man who ran away from home at the age of fifteen. He meets another runaway, and they fall in love.A journey where he faced adversaries, but also success as he walked, hitchhiked, and made his way across the country.GONE LIKE A CANDLE IN THE WIND, is a story of three young people growing up in a farming community in the Appalachian…See More
Jan 28
Rob Neufeld posted a discussion

The Main Show

The Main Show: a story-poem stage presentation(part of  Living Poem)See video of Act 1, Scene 1: The SettingProgram Notes (A program note reader comes out to read from the program notes.) Reader: Don’t listen, children, and do not hear.(A monster is coming and there’s no escapeWithin this story, and no good way to tell it, Except to gaze at the horror as at a…See More
Jan 26
Don Talley posted a discussion

Hollywood Pictures Inc in Fairview

In the 1920's it seemed the whole country was caught up in excitement about films and Hollywood.    Asheville and Western North Carolina were well aware of the hoopla of Hollywood.   In fact, Hollywood (or at least filmmaking) was already beginning to come to Western NC.I recently stumble across an article from the Jun 6 1926 issue of The Asheville Citizen Times which mentions that Hollywood Pictures Inc, was planning to film just south of Asheville, near Fairview.  But....was this really…See More
Jan 23
Connie Regan-Blake posted events
Jan 16

Vance Monument and the honoring of African American history

What’s in a monument—a complex view

by Rob Neufeld

PHOTO CAPTION: Vance Monument and 6th County Courthouse, c. 1900

           History has become a subject of special interest with proposals surrounding the renovation of the Vance monument.

            A petition now put forward by the UNCA Center for Diversity Education and other groups moves that an African American monument be placed in Pack Square, perhaps near the prominent 117-year-old obelisk. 

            The dedication date for the Vance monument had been Feb. 25, 1898 (four months after ground-breaking), not 1896, as is often reported.  The idea came up in 1896 when George Willis Pack offered the county a courthouse site with the stipulation that the land in front of it would be a park with a monument to Vance.

            “It was at this site,” the petition states, referring to pre-Pack Square days, “where enslaved people were sold and had the bills of sale recorded. In addition, enslaved people were punished and imprisoned at this same site yet no marker of any kind acknowledges this or the many contributions African Americans have made to this region.”

            The first reference in the petition is to slave history, suggesting the need for a corrective to memorials to slave-owners, such as Vance.

            “After 1898,” Dr. Darin Waters, a black heritage spokesperson says, “there was this effort to create monuments to a white supremacist past, because you wanted to create a certain message.”

            Mentioned second in the petition are African American contributions.

            If Asheville were to memorialize African American contributions, there are several sites that might accomplish that in a noteworthy way, and in a way that would contribute materially to African American life.

For one model, we look to Atlanta.

 

Comparisons and perspective

 

            Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is located in the Old Fourth Ward, a century-old African American neighborhood, which includes Dr. King’s birthplace and Sweet Auburn, a thriving black business district.  It receives about 600,000 visitors a year.

            There are economic and tangible aspects to Atlanta’s celebration of its black heritage.

            The average median household income for black residents in metropolitan Atlanta is $41,047 compared to $33,632 for the nation—and in Asheville, $19,889, according to the American Fact Finder data base of the U.S. Census.  (The median income for white households in Asheville is $47,120.)

            One quarter of the businesses in Atlanta are African American-owned; in Asheville, it’s 2.9%.  Comparing those numbers to the populations, one could say that

            Atlanta is three-and-a-half times as successful as Asheville in nurturing a black middle class.

            Should monuments, sites, and commemoratives go along with actual progress?  Can a monument kickstart such progress?  Or, is a symbol important enough by itself?

 

Choosing legacies

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Zebulon Baird Vance, c. 1875, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Brady-Handy Photograph Collection

 

            Zebulon Vance, Buncombe County-born state governor and U.S. senator, opposed civil rights for African Americans during Reconstruction. 

            Campaigning for fellow Democrats, he took positions that became familiar in the South: on the one hand, underscoring  and condemning what he and many white voters considered the radical policies of Republicans, who favored empowering (but not integrating with) African Americans; and on the other hand, coming out strongly against white racial violence.

            In contrast, Vance’s positions on civil rights in other matters were progressive.

            When the Confederacy implemented its military drafts, and convicted and punished evaders without the protection of habeas corpus, Vance, as governor, stood up to the violation of states’ as well as individual rights with more than just verbal resistance.

            In May, 1863, he sent a squad of militia soldiers to get John W. Irvin out of a conscription camp prison after Irvin had not been allowed to use the exemption he’d been granted previously.  The draft age had been raised, and Irvin’s substitute was no longer substitute material; he was draftable. 

            Vance put North Carolina law above Confederate war office proclamations, and said he would continue “to resist any such arrest upon the part of any person, not authorized by the legal order or process of a Court or Judge having jurisdiction of such cases.”

            While Vance stood up against Confederate infringements of and slights against North Carolinians, his state, he told Jefferson Davis, was still the top provider of soldiers and clothing to the army—in a fight that Vance had opposed until President Lincoln had called for troops to put down South Carolina.

 

Individualism

 

            In 1874, while Vance was opposing African American rights, he was championing Jewish people “at a time when anti-Semitism was on the rise in Europe and America,” Gordon McKinney writes in his 2004 biography, “Zeb Vance.”

            “Let us judge the Jew as we judge other men—by his merits,” Vance asserted in his famous lecture, “The Scattered Nation.”  “And above all,” he continued, “let us cease the abominable injustice of holding the class responsible for the sins of the individual.”

            In lectures he gave in the North after the Civil War, he upbraided his audiences for thinking that a majority of Southerners were in favor of slavery; for imposing penalties upon citizens who were following their government and defending their homeland; and for hypocrisy.

            “Boston and Providence slavers,” Vance told a Boston audience in 1886, “vexed the seas in their ungodly search for kidnapped Africans to be bought in exchange for New England rum and sold to Southern plantations...We only bought your wares.”

            The fundraising effort that the Society for the Historical Preservation of the 26th Regiment N.C. Troops has spearheaded to prevent deterioration of the Vance Monument refers to his serving as a Colonel of the 26th, and also to his remarkable rise from Reems Creek boyhood to a powerful representative of his people.  His sense of humor, down-to-earth relations with all classes, love of his wife, scholarship, and oratory are a large part of his legacy.

            So is his conformity to beliefs about white supremacy, which should show us how we all are vulnerable to the popular madnesses and rationalized sins of our times; not how we are better than our forebears.

            Pack Square may be the best place for a monument to African Americans, but not because it makes a statement against another monument.  And there are other sites and factors to consider, including who the monument is for.

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