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Learning From our Past: Community Soil Remembrance Exhibit

soil samples and a historical markerAs part of the community efforts to help raise local consciousness of racial history Buncombe County Special Collections, in partnership with Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County and the Equal Justice Initiative, is preparing to mount a permanent exhibit about racial terror violence in Buncombe County. The central focus of the exhibit is soil samples collected at sites where Black men were lynched in our area presented together with information about each one of the victims and the events surrounding their murder. 

A series of programs that focus on race relations in the Jim Crow South and how historians have interpreted the period over time will mark the occasion. The public is invited to join distinguished author James C. Cobb for a talk on his upcoming biography of American historian C. Vann Woodward on Tuesday, Nov. 1. Following that, an official unveiling will take place during a Buncombe County Remembrance Project Lunch and Learn on Friday, Nov. 4.

Revisiting the ‘Bible of the Civil Rights Movement’: C. Vann Woodward’s Strange Career of Jim Crow

When: Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m.

Where: Lord Auditorium, Pack Memorial Library

Cost: This event is free and open to the public

Details: “Contrary to legend, Dr. King did not refer to Woodward’s book as such in his speech at the completion of the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, but that was precisely how Woodward intended the book to function,” notes author James C. Cobb. “In the end, his determination to make it a source of inspiration optimism to civil rights activists led to a deeply flawed and misleading account of the origins of segregation in the South.”

Malaprop's Bookstore will be on hand with copies of the new book for sale. 

About James C. Cobb

James C. Cobb is Emeritus B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor in the History of the American South, at the University of Georgia. He has published 14 books focusing on various aspects of the interaction of economy, politics, and culture in the American South. His most recent book, C. Vann Woodward: America's Historian, recounts the remarkable life and career of the most influential American historian of the twentieth century. Committed to reaching beyond the scholarly community, Cobb has found a popular audience as well, contributing pieces to, among others, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The [London] Times Literary Supplement, The Financial Times, and TIME.COM. A former president of the Southern Historical Association, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Washington & Lee University.  He received the Fellowship of Southern Writers Woodward-Franklin Award for Distinguished Historical Writing, and he is a member of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.


“Buncombe County Remembrance Project Unveiling Lunch and Learn”

When: Friday, Nov. 4, noon-1 p.m.

Where: Buncombe County Special Collections

Cost: Free and open to the public but space is limited (to 20 attendees) and registration will be required. Boxed lunches will be provided. Sign up here.

Details: The Lunch and Learn will serve as the official unveiling of the permanent Remembrance Project Exhibit. Leonard Jones with Buncombe County Communications & Public Engagement will moderate a local conversation and reflection with guest speakers Dr. Joseph Fox and Mr. Jonathan McCoy. Learn more about the remembrance project here.

Dr. Joseph Fox Bio

Dr. Joseph Fox is the owner of Fox Management Consulting Enterprises, LLC.  He possesses an Ed.D. and an M.B.A. from Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC, and a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Pfeiffer University, Misenheimer, NC. Dr. Fox also possesses the Professional in Human Resources Management (PHR) National Certification, Global Achieve Leadership Training Certification, the Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL) Certification, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Certification.  

Dr. Joseph Fox is a life-long educator, mentor, and community advocate. He has advocated for students of a darker hue for more than 30 years in his role as a community college instructor, as well as his role as a former Department Chair of Business Administration at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.  Dr. Fox is the outgoing Vice President of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County, a Wilma Dykeman Board Member, and a Carolina Small Business Development Fund Board Member. He is a recent appointee to the Advisory Committee for the Asheville African-American Heritage Trail Project. In his hometown of Tryon, NC, Dr. Fox serves on the Eastside Citizens’ Advisory  Committee, and is Vice President of the Roseland Community Center Board of Directors. Dr. Fox is also a former President of the Thermal Belt Friendship Council. He has been the Chair of the Asheville Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace March and Rally Committee for a number of years, and he Chairs the Buncombe Community Remembrance Project in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, to recognize, honor, and celebrate the three individuals “of record” that were lynched in Buncombe County. 

Jonathan McCoy, M.A., History

Director of the Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (CDEI), Mars Hill University Instructor, History Department, Mars Hill University

Jonathan earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Mars Hill College (now University) in 1992. He earned a Master of Arts in History from North Carolina State University in 2000. In 2004, he earned a Teacher Certification (Secondary Social Studies Education) from East Carolina University.

From 1992-2018 Jonathan worked in several high schools in the Durham County and Wake County Public Schools systems. He instructed at-risk students and coached football, wrestling and track. In 2018, he returned to his alma mater Mars Hill University.

Jonathan focuses his teaching on helping students create a foundation of self-awareness centered on a transformational mindset that raises their level of critical thinking, communication, and cultural consciousness as individuals through positive engagements. Currently, Jonathan teaches courses on North Carolina History & Government and World Geography/Regional Conflicts.

After a year as interim director, in 2020, Jonathan was named the director of MHU’s Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (CDEI). As director of the CDEI, Jonathan’s goal has been to help build an empowering community through strategic planning and policy development to support diversity initiatives that supports positive engagements with students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and community members.



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Updated Oct 21, 2022 02:59 PM
Published Oct 20, 2022 05:38 PM