It’s time to talk again about our collective historical memory.

The Center for Diversity Education is currently collecting signatures on a petition to Asheville City Council and Buncombe County Commissioners regarding plans to repair the Vance Monument, thanks to fundraising efforts by 26th NC Regiment. The petition requests that “in conjunction with this major effort to repair and restore the Vance Monument, plans be made now to work with the newly created African American Heritage Commission to create in Pack Square an equally significant monument to recognize the enormous sacrifices of African Americans during the periods of Slavery and Segregation and also to celebrate the many contributions of African Americans to the physical, economic and cultural life of Asheville and Buncombe County since their arrival here in the 1700s.”

CLICK HERE TO PRINT AND SIGN THE PETITION. Mail completed petitions to: The Center for Diversity Education, One University Heights, 1200, Asheville, NC   28804.

This is your chance to take ACTION to improve Asheville’s collective memory!

Go to diversityed.org/monuments for more context (see excerpts below).

There are two upcoming presentations related to this campaign:

Under the title, History and its Burdens: The Place of African Americans in our Collective Historical Memory, “Dr. Darin Waters will share his research on slavery in Asheville while Ms. Deborah Miles will share its relationship to the current site of Vance Monument. This presentation is part of a project of the Center for Diversity Education to acknowledge the history of slave labor at the current site of the Vance Monument which is the former site of the Buncombe County Court House. On this site enslaved people were sold on the court house steps and their deeds recorded at the Register of Deeds.”

  •  Sunday, February 8, 3:00 pm at Congregation Beth Ha Tephila (43 Liberty St.) – a program of Carolina Jews for Justice
  • Friday, February 20, 9:30 am, at UNC Asheville Osher Life Long Learning Center

monuments in downtown ashevilleText from diversityed.org/monuments:

“There are five Confederate Markers in downtown Asheville including the Vance Monument. A monument to Col. Connelly (Gettysburg) and Genearl Robert E. Lee (The Dixie Highway) are right next to it, and often overlooked, on a large marble marker. Two blocks over at the County Courthouse is a monument for the Chickamauga Battle (Chattanooga) and a historical marker for the Confederate Armory (operated in part by slave labor) a few feet away. Still, there is no marker that shares the history of the African American community prior to 1865 even while the site of the Vance monument is the location of the Buncombe County Court House where people were sold and their bills of sale recorded.

Timeline of Pack Square:

Pre 1786– Cherokee Nation
1786– United States gives land grants of confiscated Cherokee lands to Revolutionary soldiers
1796– 1st Log Cabin Courthouse opens
1796 -1865– Enslaved people sold, imprisoned, and punished at courthouse, bills of sale of enslaved people recorded at Buncombe County the Register of Deeds
1865– Slavery is abolished
1896– Vance Monument on Pack Square dedicated
1905—Chickamauga Monument at Courthouse dedicated
1923—Monuments on Pack Square for the Dixie Highway, in memory of Robert E. Lee, and for Col. Connelly, wounded at Gettysburg, dedicated
1965—Historical marker for the Confederate Armory (operated, in part, on slave labor) dedicated.
2014— NC 26 Regiment fundraises to repair the Vance Monument.

‘If the house is to be set in order, one cannot begin with the present; [one] must begin with the past.’  – Dr. John Hope Franklin

‘A marker about African American History should be one of equal stature that commemorates the lasting and ongoing significance of the enslaved and segregated community that also lived and thrived in the Mountains.’ – Dr. Dwight Mullen