City of Asheville celebrates legacy of local Black culture in February through personal connections

Throughout the year, the City of Asheville and its partners share unique stories, rich cultural events, and opportunities to connect with neighbors that make the city a special place to call home. In February, all community members are invited to reflect on local Black history, heritage, and hope as Asheville Parks & Recreation hosts events to celebrate Black History and Legacy Month.

“Each February, the Asheville Parks & Recreation team finds creative ways to recognize, celebrate, and highlight the struggles, successes, and contributions of Black people right here at home and throughout the nation,” according to D. Tyrell McGirt, APR Director. “This year, we’ve focused on the idea of connections – how personal conversations, photographs, food, and personally-created art can shine light on moments, whether prominent or lesser known, that define our past experiences and provide inspiration for the future. Parks, community centers, and recreation programs provide fertile ground to create new memories in our community each day, but it’s important to share and honor stories of the past to provide greater context of how Black Ashevillians played a major role in shaping our city.”

 

Black History and Legacy Month Highlights

All events are free, but advance registration is recommended as space may be limited.

Feb. 10, 1-4 p.m. – Shiloh Storytelling and Reflection at Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Center

Shiloh Community Association members, friends, and neighbors honor those who helped build the Shiloh community through storytelling and reflections about its past, present, and future. Please call (828) 274-7739 for more info.

 

Feb. 16, 2:30-5:30 p.m. – Edible Park Work and Learn Day at Dr. George Washington Carver Edible Park

Did you know one of the nation’s oldest community food forests is located in Asheville? With over 40 varieties of fruit and nut trees, a butterfly habitat, and annual vegetable garden, maintaining this space named for inventor and agricultural scientist Dr. George Washington Carver is a year-round job for volunteers. Please call (828) 350-2058 for more info.

 

Feb. 16, 6-7:30 p.m. – Stumptown Story Night and Dinner at Tempie Avery Montford Community Center

Reminisce, tell stories, and learn the rich history of Stumptown, a tight-knit Black neighborhood previously located on the grounds of the community center. Anyone with a familial or other tie to Stumptown is invited to share pictures, fond memories, and good times with friends and community members while enjoying a delicious meal. Please call (828) 253-3714 for more info.

 

Feb. 16, 6-7:30 p.m. – Burton Street History at Burton Street Community Center

Join for an exciting presentation and discussion about the legacy of the Burton Street neighborhood and its founder, Edward W. Pearson. Light refreshments provided. Please call (828) 254-1942 for more info.

 

Feb. 16, 6-8 p.m. – Black History Through the Eyes of Art Opening Reception at Dr. Wesley Grant Sr. Southside Community Center

Examine how local artists acknowledge and celebrate Black heritage in fascinating ways through different mediums. Reception features light bites with artwork on display during regular center hours through Feb. 29. To showcase your art pieces, register online or call the center at (828) 259-5843.

 

Feb. 21, 1-2 p.m. – Past, Present, and Future of Black History at Harvest House Community Center

Join WNC native and Ph. D. candidate Ronnetta Copeland as she frames local Black history in the context of national milestones highlighting struggles, triumphs, and today’s crab-in-barrel mindset. Please call (828) 350-2051 for more info.

 

Feb. 22, 6-8 p.m. – Soul Food Supper at Stephens-Lee Community Center

In the late 19th century, the church became a gathering place for Black communities and impacted the development of what’s now considered soul food. Fried chicken, fried fish, sweet potato pie, sweet tea, black-eyed peas, cornbread, and more were served during Emancipation celebrations and church gatherings. Celebrate a century since Stephens-Lee High School opened its doors at this dinner sponsored by school alumni and the East End/Valley Street Neighborhood Association with down-home cooking passed down through generations. Advance registration is requested to help with planning. Please call (828) 350-2058 for more info.

 

Asheville Parks & Recreation

With its oldest parks dating to the 1890s, Asheville Parks & Recreation manages a unique collection of more than 65 public parks, playgrounds, and open spaces throughout the city in a system that also includes full-complex recreation centers, swimming pools, Riverside Cemetery, sports fields and courts, and community centers that offer a variety of wellness-, education-, and culture-related programs for Ashevillians of all ages. With 10 miles of paved greenways and numerous natural surface trails, its complete portfolio acts as the foundation of a vibrant hub for the people of Asheville to connect with their neighbors and explore the natural beauty of a livable and walkable city.

Driven by the promise that Asheville is a better and safer place when everyone from infants to retirees has the opportunity to be supported, healthy, and successful, Asheville Parks & Recreation was the first nationally-accredited municipal recreation department in the United States. For latest updates, sign up for Asheville Parks & Recreation’s monthly newsletter, follow the department on Facebook (@aprca) and Instagram (@ashevilleparksandrecreation), or visit  www.ashevillenc.gov/parks.

 

 

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