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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: July 2023

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.

This is the story of a quadriplegic mother raising twins.


At the close of the first day of the City of Asheville’s Juneteenth Festival coordinated by the MLK Association on Saturday June 17th, a shooting took place. Two people were seriously wounded. The events planned for the second day of the festival, Sunday June 18th, were cancelled and the MLK Association issued this statement: 

“We are saddened that a day of celebration and community unity was darkened by a cloud of violence. We pray for the healthy recovery of the victims, for justice to prevail, and that all community members be safe and at peace.” 

  • The Association’s concerns are with the families that have been so negatively affected by continued senseless gun violence that is impacting the nation and especially Black communities. 
  • The shooting occurred after a very successful Juneteenth Festival had ended for the day. 
  • The organization is referring all inquiries to the Asheville Police Department which is investigating the incident. 
  • The incident is further evidence of the need to allocate funding to programs whose goals are to provide mediation services, conflict management skills, and healing from personal and community trauma to organizations that are working with youth and community groups. 

On Thursday, June 22nd, Dr. Oralene Graves Simmons, President of The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Association of Asheville & Buncombe County issued a follow-up statement: 

“The Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr., Association of Asheville and Buncombe County is part of the community, and our community is a diverse gathering of people who all are affected by gun violence and the trauma it creates. Gun violence does not have a regard for race, age, or gender. It’s a community issue, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Association will listen, work, and contribute to the efforts of those individuals and organizations that have led in wrestling with this issue over a long period of time. We can all work together to make a difference in our community.”

Ms. Opal Lee is known as the “grandmother of Juneteenth.” This is a short look at her fight to make Juneteenth a national holiday.

National News

**In a 6-3 decision, the US Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions. article **

The death of Olympic three-time medalist Tori Bowie becomes more distressing when we remember the CDC maternity report. 

Read the interesting Reuters report on finding that 118 of America’s most influential leaders have a slaveholding ancestor. article  

Did Martha Washington have a Black grandson? The Smithsonian Magazine investigates. article 

Discussions about advancements in technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) should also include examining how a lack of racial awareness influences how well technology works. articles 

In Florida, state GOP representatives now have some regrets about passing anti-immigration legislation. article 

Most Black Americans believe that US racism will get worse in their lifetime. article 

The far-right group “Moms for Liberty” known for confronting school boards has been listed as a hate group. article 

240 Black employees have filed a suit that racism is rampant in Elon Musk’s San Fransico Tesla plant. article 

Trump inspired conspiracy theory allegations against Georgia poll workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss have been found to be “false and unsubstantiated.” article 

The Fellowship of Reconciliation calls out “So Called Christian Nationalism”. 

State News

***Important voting information: The NC Board of Elections released these 10 facts about the NC photo ID requirement for voting. This goes into effect now!

Work to understand what SB 747 and other bills propose. Voting rights advocates are sharing that information. Here are some key talking points that Common Cause NC and its partners have compiled as part of its Communications & Organizing Toolkit. 

The GOP supermajority in the General Assembly overrode Gov. Cooper’s veto of 6 bills. 

Gov. Cooper vetoes a bill that would limit discussion on race in state government buildings. But with a supermajority the GOP will likely override it. 

The US Supreme Court recent decision in Moore v. Harper probably means NC will have to redraw its congressional map. article  

The US Supreme Court decided not to hear the NC case about the state not selling license plates with the Confederate flag. article 

House Bill 699 is currently sitting in committee in the NC General Assembly. It would recognize the Tuscarora People as an Indigenous Tribe of North Carolina. article 

African American Experiences in the Smokies project began in 2018, to support research and share stories of African American life in the Great Smoky Mountains area. article 

This is an interesting article about a new housing development in Gastonia, NC that offers a safe space to “freedom-loving patriots.” article

Issues in Education

Here is a good article that supplies information and resources on anti-Black racism in education. article 

Soon an Oxford Dictionary on African American English will be published. article 

People’s views and ideas concerning education issues are more complicated than what we hear and read in the news. article 

The fight over desegregation in schools is still going on in Mississippi. article  

Conservatives war on “woke” in schools are making students of color and LGBTQ students feel less safe. article 

The NC General Assembly is considering legislation about school vouchers, allowing private schools to use public school funds. It is important to know and understand why many in the Black community are not happy with this idea. article 

Ms. Nikole Hannah-Jones and UNC-Chapel Hill are still at odds with one another. Now it centers on UNC-CH disrupting the funding of the organization she co-founded, the Ida B. Wells Society, which helps with the development of journalists of color. article 

Battling Racism

The Department of Veterans Affairs is examining why Black veterans are turned down for benefits more often than white veterans. article 

Across the nation judges and lawyers continue to cite as good precedent cases that involved enslaved people. article 

This is an interesting interview with a former gun making company executive who talks about how racism and fear is influencing the increase of gun violence in the US. 

Racism is alive and well in college athletics. article 

Fourth grader Gavin Alston spoke to the Redmond, Ore., city council about racism and the trauma it creates. article 

80% of nurses in a recent survey report that they have heard or experienced racism and discrimination. article 

The Whitney Plantation in Louisiana is using tours of their plantation to further the education and understanding of the struggles and legacies of enslaved people. article 

The Biden administration is taking on racial bias in home appraisals. article 

The city of Cincinnati officially recognized the traumatic impact of its 1950’s gentrification development and the negative impact it had on its African American community. article 

The International African American Museum in Charleston, SC opened its doors on June 27th.

Local Happenings

The discovery of human remains at a west Asheville construction site means a part of lost African American history in Asheville has been found. article 

Shiloh AME church has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. article 

In this article and video from WLOS, a bill introduced in the NC General Assembly was passed and will affect how elections are run for the Buncombe County Board of Education   

What is the Buncombe County Equity Mural Project? Here is a digital community feedback page that provides more information about it.    

Keep up with local businesses offerings and efforts Go local asheville 

There is a new national organization committing funding to help small nonprofits across the country in their fight for reparations for Black citizens and their communities. article 

Feeling inspired to voice your concerns? Here is an updated list of print and online media here in WNC and a writer’s guide to writing a well-organized letter-to-the-editor (LTEs) or opinion article can be found here 

CoThinkk is now accepting leadership award nominations. Nominate leaders of color and allies who are playing a critical role in the social change ecosystem of Western NC and working to shift narratives around communities of color. Click this link for more information 

Community Efforts

William A. Darity and A. Kristen Mullen are experts on reparations, and they have a plan on how to close the racial wealth gap. article

In this segment from the PBS NewsHour, they report on the first cash reparations program that was instituted in Evanston, IL. 

Asheville and Buncombe County Community Reparations ComissionCommission webpage

  • The Commission’s project page Project page  
  • The next meeting of the Community Reparations Commission is scheduled for July 17, 2023 from 6pm-8pm at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Banquet Room:  87 Haywood Street,  Asheville, NC 28801

In this email from the Racial Justice Coalition, they share how people can support reparations in Asheville and Buncombe County by having conversations. They provide the resources to help that happen. They also have a website that provides several ways for folks to get involved in the community. 

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

Hood Huggers offers a fun way to learn about the history of Black Asheville. They also organize volunteer opportunities at the Peace Garden – there are regular Community volunteer days. The Farm stand is open on Friday’s from 3pm-7pm every week. Get details about how to book a tour, volunteering or taking part in their other community actions here

The Color of Asheville’s“Black-Owned Businesses and Community Directory

Black Wall Street AVL works to support Black Businesses in Asheville. Check out their website for more information.

Sat. July 15 11am-3pm
Art Garden AVL 191 Lyman St, Ste 316 Asheville, NC 28805

The Plant Club Pop Up Market is welcoming to all plant lovers and growers alike. We have plant-centered events in the Canopy Gallery at Art Garden each month. The Pop-up Market happens on the 3rd Saturday of each month, features around 10 local plant people, and is free to attend and to vend! Come find plants and plant-goodies from a wide range of local growers and makers, and make new plant friends!

Email if interested in vending!

Support an Asheville community Shiloh Resource Center

The Shiloh Community Association

  • Monday, July 3, 2023
  • 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Linwood Crump Shiloh Center (map)

Join us every 1st Monday of the Month to learn about what is going on in our community, bring prasies and concerns that you see in the neighborhood and learn about upcoming events.

Remembrance Projects Nationally & 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.

The NC Black Alliance offers this webpage with a page entitled – “Access to Healthcare: What You Need to Know” along with other pages that have articles and information concerning the Black community.

AI, Artificial Intelligence, CDC Maternity Report, Juneteenth, Moms for Liberty, Moore v. Harper, NC Board of Elections, Tori Bowie, Tuscarora

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