Displaying items by tag: africanamerican

An oral history project documenting African American history in the far western reaches of North Carolina is now a book, thanks to Waynesville’s Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center.

“I guess the motivation was because Haywood County just doesn’t have very much documented history of African Americans,” said Lyn Forney, the director of the Pigeon Center.

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.

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.

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.

Which female pioneers have paved the way for you to be where you are today?

“Sojourner Truth,” Janice Inabinett answered without hesitation. “She’s my shero.”

A new park in Waynesville’s Pigeon Street community can finally move forward thanks to an agreement reached between Haywood County and the town of Waynesville.

Canton native William McDowell and his wife, celebrity songstress Gladys Knight, have big plans for McDowell’s old alma mater, Reynolds High School.

A dilapidated segregation-era high school in Canton purchased by a former student will become a $5 million community center by 2019 if the Reynolds High School Community Foundation meets its fundraising goals. 

SEE ALSO: Q&A: Reynolds Community Center to be a ‘safe haven’Reynolds Community Center to be a ‘safe haven’

Entrepreneur and Canton native William McDowell — married to Motown legend Gladys Knight since 2001 — purchased the 20,000 square-foot building and adjoining 6.5 acres at auction for $80,000 in 2013, and judging from what they want to do with it, they’ll need every inch.

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.

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