More than a century ago, the state of African-American education in the antebellum South was so utterly deplorable that it took the combined forces of a civil rights pioneer and a department store magnate to make lasting improvements that continue to reverberate across the region, including in Western North Carolina.
After finishing the last pages of Libertarians On The Prairie: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose Wilder Lane, and the Making of the Little House Books (Arcade Publishing, 2016, 259 pages), my first thought was: I am glad I am not a farmer.
High atop a knobby bald in central Haywood County sits lonely Dix Hill Cemetery, just yards from Jones Temple AME Zion Church in the heart of Waynesville’s historically African-American Pigeon Street community.
From frost-churned fields on steep hills above shadow-soaked coves spring mossy fieldstones, hopelessly eroded and only becoming more so, season by season.
Sometimes it can feel like one step forward, two steps back for women in the workforce, but this year’s theme for National Women’s History Month — Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business — provides an opportunity to showcase female pioneers who have made it possible for the next generation of women to succeed.
The Smoky Mountain News will be publishing a series of articles to showcase a number of women in Western North Carolina who are currently making history.
• Women’s contributions to workforce celebrated
• Businesswoman offers leadership advice
• Beloved Woman reflects on life full of love for language and community
• Oswalt becomes Cherokee’s third living Beloved Woman
• Finding your ‘shero’
“You know, history becomes personal,” Reggie Harris said to a silent auditorium last Sunday afternoon. “These are our stories, and our history — black and white — on this long road of broken dreams and possibilities.”
Sitting onstage at the Swain Arts Center in Bryson City, Harris was joined by Scott Ainslie during their “Black and White and Blues” program, which received support from the North Carolina Arts Council.
Canton native William McDowell and his wife, celebrity songstress Gladys Knight, have big plans for McDowell’s old alma mater, Reynolds High School.
Special recognition could be coming to an overlooked quarter of Waynesville if a recently submitted grant application receives funding.
Standing in the parking lot of the Jones Temple AME Zion Church on Pigeon Street in Waynesville, Phillip Gibbs doesn’t look 71 years old.