Buncombe County Remembrance Project: March 2021
It has been almost one year since the COVID-19 pandemic changed our community, the state and nation (and world). That impact continues, and there are several pieces below that provide information to help everyone navigate this challenging time, especially for people of color, including this event happening later today.
February is also a month where Black history is highlighted. This edition shares an effort to recognize the contributions of Blacks as exemplified through the inaugural Rosa Parks awards. These women each share their commitment to the work they’ve done and their appreciation for the honor in a short video.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues its work. The Equal Justice Initiative from Montgomery, Alabama, continues to support the efforts of communities like ours with this new resource for Community Remembrance Projects. Below, you’ll see highlights of the work that continues in spite of the limitations.
For the almost 300 subscribers to this e-newsletter, thank you for your interest and stepping forward to support this effort.
If you are interested in learning more about our work groups, go here. If you have questions or want to join a work group, contact Dr. Joseph Fox. Feel free to share any part or all of this e-newsletter with others.
Dr. Fox and group leads share the progress in the Lynching Research, Historical Marker, and the Essay Contest work groups in the article that follows. The links in the previous sentence take you to the specific sections for each work group.
Community Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project Steering Committee continues to meet during the COVID-19 Pandemic via Zoom. We need your help to continue to engage the community in discussions that affect the “Beloved Community”. (Read the entire article here.)
This year, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County announced their inaugural Rosa Parks Awards. Four women were honored in February, with each sharing a video on successive Thursdays. The one above is for the latest, Tracey Greene-Washington. Earlier recipients were Libby Kyles, Dr. Sharon West, and Tara Brown. Congratulations to these dynamic members of this community!
This e-newsletter not only covers what the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is doing but also other news, events and stories that align with its work. See below for some items that are noteworthy:
- As in each edition, here are articles, blogs, audios and videos focused on racial inequity. This section also offers efforts to positively address these issues locally, regionally, statewide or nationally.
- Moral Mondays are Back: Rev. Dr. William Barber II and the Poor People’s Campaign meet today at 3 pm to continue their efforts to heal the earth and its people. Get details here. This link is likely to offer information on future Moral Mondays.
- ools to Support COVID-19 Prevention: The Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) is launching a community health newsletter to provide resources to support the health of Black, African American, Indigenous, Latinx/Hispanic, and other communities of color during the pandemic and beyond. This monthly, equity-focused newsletter includes science-based information and community-based resources to support COVID-19 prevention and vaccine education and to empower informed decision making, individual choice, and community well-being. To receive this monthly newsletter and/or contribute resources, please sign up here or email Jennifer Maurer.
- Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment: The Biden Administration has created a special enrollment period for health insurance until May 15th. Get details here.
- Help Name the Wilma Dykeman Greenway: Wilma Dykeman, who grew up in the Beaverdam valley just north of the Asheville city limits, was one of the early voices of environmental justice. You can vote today to rename Asheville’s central greenway in the River Arts District from the French Broad River Greenway East to the Wilma Dykeman Greenway. Read the full story here.
- Reading & Interview: The MLK Association, through its Community Outreach Providing Empowerment (COPE) program, features Dr. Stephanie Powell Watts, an African-American novelist and professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Dr. Powell Watts grew up in Lenoir, NC. After reading from a selection of her works, she will be interviewed by Jim Stokely. Jim is the son of legendary Asheville-based author Wilma Dykeman. This event will be featured on the MLK’s YouTube channel later this month.
- Leadership Asheville and the Asheville Area Arts Council are focusing on “Equity in Creative Placemaking” in their four-part winter breakfast series. The third event is March 18th and highlights Maria Jackson. Get the flyer with details here and register here.
- The North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library is making changes. As of Jan. 22nd, the room will be known as the Buncombe County Special Collections (BCSC). As noted by Director Jim Blanton, “most importantly, it is a critical step forward in making the space more welcoming and inclusive of the entire community.” Get the full story here.
The story of Albert Joyner and the children of Old Fort is told in this short film. Back in 1955, Mr. Joyner escorted Black children who wanted to go to an all-white school. The premiere of this film happened recently, and the creation of a mural in downtown Old Fort honoring that day and the struggles of Blacks is shared.
Abbeville, SC is about 2 hours from Asheville. In the video above, you will learn about a man, Anthony Crawford, who was lynched about 100 years ago because he refused to sell his goods for less than they were worth.
This is a difficult story to hear, but it is important to tell. As Bryan Stevenson so eloquently states, we need to be truth tellers. The Lynching in America website from EJI is dedicated to sharing the history of this era of racial terrorism.
Financially Supporting the BCRP
The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project’s continues its partnership with the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC). The Foundation has set up a fund on behalf of the Remembrance Project, and here is the link if you wish to support this important work.
The funding will help the Project: (See more.)
As the pandemic continues to spread, it remains very important for all to have access to the necessary resources and information. Buncombe County has created this webpage that provides important information and resources to help our community. The state of North Carolina also provides this page that provides valuable information. Please take care, and stay safe.
Above is another image from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The view from this angle shows the pillars hanging from 800 counties in the US where a lynching has been documented. In the foreground are replicas of those pillars that counties will be able to take back home and display once they develop a process for coming to terms with their racial history. The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is planning to bring back the one for Buncombe County.
Abbeville SC, ACA Special Enrollment, Albert Joyner, Bryan Stevenson, Covid-19, Finding Home survey, Maria Jackson, Moral Mondays, Old Fort, Pack Memorial Library, Pandemic Resources, Rev Dr William Barber II, thriveavl.org, Wilma Dykeman Greenway