Existence as Resistance

UNC Asheville Associate Professor of History Darin J. Waters
UNC Asheville Associate Professor of History Darin J. Waters.

UNC Asheville’s seventh African Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia Conference will take place online this year, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, October 16, 2020.

Continuing last year’s theme, Existence as Resistance: Expressions of Resilience, this year’s conference will include time for Q&A and discussion. Conference founder and director, UNC Asheville Associate Professor of History Darin J. Waters, who also is the University’s executive director of community engagement, and the producer of BPR’s The Waters and Harvey Show, will provide a welcoming talk at 10 a.m.

Featured Presentations

Community Building and Resilience in Huntington West Virginia: The Making of a Black Appalachian Community, presented by Cicero Fain III, professor at the College of Southern Maryland and author of Black Huntington: An Appalachian Story.

African Americans and the COVID-19 Crisis, presented by Rochelle Monique Brandon, M.D., a Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and principal of Brandon Gynecology Associates in Charlotte, N.C.

African American Resistance and Resilience through Artistic Expression in Southern Appalachia: Memorializing the Black Lives Matter Movement, featuring four people instrumental in creating the downtown Asheville BLM mural:

  • Marie T. Cochran, founding curator of the Affrilachian Artist Project, and Lehman Brady Professor at Duke University.
  • Joseph Pearson, whose recent commissions include Heritage, a mural at All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village; New Shiloh, a Visual History, for the Community Foundation of WNC; and a multi-panel work for BPR addressing the George Floyd protests.
  • Jenny Pickens, the first artist-in-residence at 22 London, has been commissioned to create a giant mural in the courtyard of the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts downtown.
  • Asheville City Council Member Sheneika Smith.

Changing Our Narrative: Diversity and Inclusion and American History, presented by Ron Carson – Vice Chair of the 400 Years of African-American History Commission; co-founder of The Appalachian African American Cultural Center in Pennington Gap, Virginia; and director of three clinics in southwestern Virginia serving and advocating for coal miners with black lung disease.

The program also will include presentations of undergraduate research by UNC Asheville students.

The conference is free and open to everyone. For more information, visit aawnc.unca.edu.

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