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Explore the Smokies’ African American history

A young girl dresses in a Valentine’s Day costume. Blount County Library photo A young girl dresses in a Valentine’s Day costume. Blount County Library photo

Get a peek into current research efforts regarding African American history in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during a pair of upcoming virtual events offered Thursday, Oct. 14, and Friday, Oct. 22. 

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is partnering with Western Carolina University and University of North Carolina Asheville to offer these programs, which will begin with a 30-minute talk on African American history in the park. Facilitators will then lead an open discussion about current research and upcoming projects.

“In the heart of these mountains, you can find an African American doctor who served his community for 40 years, Job Corpsmen who continued the legacy of the CCC by building roads and trails that we enjoy today, and sacred burial grounds that date back to the 1860s,” said Science Communicator Antoine Fletcher. “Better understanding this unique African American experience helps us better share the full history of the Appalachian mountains.”  

While African Americans have been in the Great Smoky Mountains region since at least the early 16th century, knowledge of their presence is relatively low. The park is conducting this research effort to better understand the untold history of the African American experience in southern Appalachia.  

Times for the sessions are yet to be determined. For additional details and registration, visit www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/historyculture/town-hall-events.htm. The research is supported by Friends of the Smokies and the Great Smoky Mountains Association. 

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