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MLK Association of Asheville
"Our LIVES Begin To End The Day
We Become SILENT About Things That MATTER"
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Buncombe Community Remembrance Project: March 2023

Newsletter Update

As the e-newsletter outgoing editor Ron Katz noted in the February edition the “the torch has been passed.” I’m Jonathan McCoy, Vice President of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association and Chair of the Community Outreach Providing Empowerment (COPE) Program. The COPE Program focuses on empowering residents through educational outreach, workshops, seminars, and special events.

It is my challenge to continue the vision and efforts of Mr. Katz and Dr. Fox’s in this e-newsletter, the legacy of the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County. There will be hiccups as we make the switch, but the intent centers on serving the community.

As Mr. Katz noted, “There are many in our community who are interested in moving forward no matter what our history has been. That task is not always easy and mistakes are sometimes made, but the key is continuing to try and to work together, and that is happening within our community. “

The e-newsletter is a voice of the community and in being so it will continue to rely on individuals to submit articles that highlight and inform the community about services, resources, and community concerns. Please send them to me at

Thank you for your patience and support. More importantly thank you Mr. Katz for your tireless efforts!

Jonathan McCoy

Things to Think About

Important News/Events/Stories

This e-newsletter shares what the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project is doing and offers other news, events and stories that align with its work. Below are some items that are noteworthy. As always, feel free to share any or all of these items or the entire e-newsletter.

  • The killing of Tyre Nichols is a sad reminder that the ideas of white supremacy and racial violence are issues that affect all people. These require community action. Racial violence – a community issue 
  • As Asheville wrestles with the Vance monument question this article looks at Richmond, VA, and their struggle to answer the question of what to do with the over 13 Confederate monuments that were taken down. Confederate statue graveyard
  • There are conscious/explicit ways racism impacts our everyday life. The popular assumption that Black people are not qualified to hold certain positions is an argument rooted in racism. Job qualifications. The emphasis on professionalism in the workplace is often used as a gatekeeping tool centered in racism. Professionalism and racism 
  • Have you explored the history behind the origins of the NAACP? The NAACP
  • Black History Month is time to take action, move beyond ‘Standing on Shoulders’ by Joseph Fox, Ed.D, MBA Asheville Citizen-Times article
  • The College Board statement regarding their AP American Studies course. College Board


The Folding Chair

Lenoir Rhyne University’s Equity & Diversity Institute is offering a free online Folding Chair Inclusive Community Networking event – “DEI Practices in Human Resources” on Monday March 13 at 6pm  Folding Chair Event 

National Women’s History Month

This month is National Women’s History month which means the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville & Buncombe County will present their Rosa Parks Awards which honors women who are community activist. More information will be coming out in the coming weeks.

John Lewis Awards

On Feb. 23rd the association celebreated the inaugural class of their John Lewis Awards honorees. This award honors men who are community activist. The honorees were Matthew Bacoate, Quentin Miller, Dwight Mullen, and Al Whitesides. John Lewis Awards

Community Efforts

Asheville and Buncombe County Community Reparations Comission: Commission webpage 

  • The Commissions project page Project page 
  • Feb. 20, 2023 meeting minutes Comission minutes 
  • NEXT MEETING: The next meeting of the Community Reparations Commission is scheduled for March 20, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.  at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Banquet Room:  87 Haywood Street,  Asheville, NC 28801

The Racial Justice Coalition has a webpage on its website that highlights two of its projects. Go here to get details for Every Black Voice and the Government Accountability Project. Each is open for people to support.

The Reparations Stakeholders Authority of Asheville has created the RSAA Reparations Fund. Here is information on how people can learn and support this effort organized by the Tzedek Social Justice Fund.

Want to have fun and learn about the history of Black Asheville? Take a Hood Huggers Tour. Get details about how to book a tour here.

Remembrance Projects Nationally and Locally

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) has been the important partner not only to Buncombe County but to all communities willing and working to address their history of racial injustice. As in each edition of this e-newsletter, the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project continues to highlight several items from EJI.

  1. EJI is currently working with nearly 100 communities to advance Community Remembrance Projects. More than half have erected historical markers. You can find out more about the communities that have erected EJI sponsored Community Remembrance Project markers here.
  2. You can view what is on each of the markers for Buncombe County, front and back, here as compiled by the Equal Justice Initiative. To see the markers, go to the following sites: for Mr. John Humphries – College & Spruce Streets; for Mr. Bob Brackett – Triangle Park; and for Mr. Hezekiah Rankin – Craven Street & Emma Road.
  3. The full stories about each of the three men who were lynched are captured in this document
  4. The Equal Justice Initiative shared this webpage of the Historical Markers Installation Ceremony In Asheville on October 30th of 2021.

     Please remember:

  1. That if you want to stay connected to the work of the Equal Justice Initiative? Sign up for updates about their work here.
  2. Every day of the year offers important racial justice history. If you want to get a daily reminder of that history, the Equal Justice Initiative offers this sign-up. Go here to get today’s reminder.

Sheryl Lee Ralph singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" at Super Bowl LVII

Pandemic Resources

 COVID-19 and its variants remain a concern. Buncombe County has created this webpage that provides information and resources to help our community. The state of North Carolina provides this page as well.

Additionally, the NC Black Alliance offers this webpage dedicated to the latest information on COVID-19 for members of the Black community.

Choosing Purposeful Alignment, Confederate Statue Graveyard, Every Black Voice, Government Accountability Project, Hood Huggers Tour, John Lewis Awards, The Folding Chair, Tracey Greene-Washington, Tyre Nichols, Women's History Month

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