Early book gives vivid descriptions of WNC

Those who read this column regularly are aware of my interest in the early descriptive literature of Western North Carolina. Whenever possible, I like to collect copies — first editions or reprints — of these often rare books. And I like to share some of the descriptions via this column from time to time.

A friendship forged in faith helped change the world

On Nov. 5, 2001, not quite two months after the 9/11 attacks, Lech Walesa spoke at Western Carolina University. Walesa was famed for his resistance to communism in Poland and the Soviet Union, and was the founder of Solidarity, a trade union seeking an expansion of its negotiating power and the establishment of fundamental human rights within Polish communism. Along with Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and Mikhail Gorbachev, Walesa was a key player in the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Soviet Union.

‘It’s five past five and time to jive’: Moonlighting mailman’s star won’t fade

As the sun rises over Papertown one bright morning in 1958, a 30-year-old African-American by the name of Nathaniel Lowery wakes up and, like hundreds of others, heads for the mill.

Forgotten Pigeon Street school has historic roots

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.

A fresh look into an enduring classic

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.

The tales the tombstones tell

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.

Digitizing the deceased

From frost-churned fields on steep hills above shadow-soaked coves spring mossy fieldstones, hopelessly eroded and only becoming more so, season by season.

Women’s contributions to workforce celebrated

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.

Honoring Women’s History Month

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’

Through the fingertips, echoes the history

“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.

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