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Commissioner Al Whitesides & Sheriff Miller Receive Inaugural John Lewis Award

a photo of a group of men receiving an awardOn Saturday, Feb. 25, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County announced the first recipients of its John Lewis Award.

The Association’s Community Outreach Providing Empowerment (COPE) committee honored four local men with an award ceremony held at the Lenoir-Rhyne University Graduate school site in Asheville. Buncombe County Government is proud to congratulate and celebrate these inaugural honorees for their leadership and inspiring service to our community.

The John Lewis award honors men in our community who have:

  • Fostered a culture of inclusion in the Asheville community
  • Worked to achieve a just society for the disadvantaged
  • Exemplified a nonviolent philosophy in pursuit of a better life for non-majority people
  • Inspired direct action in the cause of social justice

The 2023 John Lewis Award honorees are:

Mr. Matthew Bacoate Jr. was the founder, manager, and owner of AFRAM, Inc., the largest African American-owned business in Asheville’s history. He is a veteran, community activist, and a builder of economic development projects and interracial relationships in Asheville and across North Carolina.

Mr. Quentin Miller is the first African American Sheriff of Buncombe County. In 2022, he was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to the North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice. The task force focuses on addressing existing policies and procedures that unfairly affect communities of color.

Dr. Dwight Mullen is professor emeritus at UNC Asheville. He led his students in an annual research project, “The State of Black Asheville,” collecting and presenting an array of data on the severe racial disparities in Asheville. Currently he is the chair of Asheville’s historic Community Reparations Commission.

Mr. Al Whitesides is the first African American to serve as a commissioner in Buncombe County. He has also been the Chair of the Asheville City Schools board, and Chair of the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees among many other public service roles.


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Updated Feb 28, 2023 02:21 PM
Published Feb 28, 2023 02:00 PM