ECHOES FROM THE PAST: As part of North Carolina's proposed Civil War History Center, projected to be completed by 2020 in Fayetteville, story collectors are traversing the state in search of families' oral traditions from the Civil War years. Image via N.C. Civil War History Center.

Confrontin­g history: “Our State, Our Stories” initiative calls for Civil War family narratives

In an effort to record the varied Civil War experiences passed down through N.C. familes, regional historians across the state are collecting narratives as part of the “Our State, Our Stories” Initiative. The stories gathered will be included in a new, state of the art North Carolina Civil War History Center in Fayetteville, scheduled to be completed by 2020.

RESILIENCE BRILLIANCE: "We know a lot already about how to deal with climate change," says Laura Lengnick, author of Resilient Agriculture. She offers a solution in the form of sustainable, nature based practices. Photo courtesy of the Organic Growers School

In Asheville and beyond, creative problem solvers are hatching new solutions

Carl Sandburg called Chicago the “city of the big shoulders”; if he were alive today, he might describe Asheville as “the city of the big thinkers,” acknowledging the passion so many area residents display in seeking out new solutions to the issues we face. On many fronts, creative new approaches are being hatched and put […]

WORKING CLASS HERO: Appalachian native, storied balladeer and labor organizer Ella May Wiggins played a central role in the Loray Mill strike of 1929. Her life, legacy and untimely murder is examined in a new book authored by her great-granddaughter, Haw Creek Elementary teacher Kristina Horton. Image courtesy of Kristina Horton.

Working Class Hero: a Q&A with author Kristina Horton on “The Martyr of Loray Mill”

In July 2015, Kristina Horton — great-granddaughter of famed labor activist Ella May Wiggins — published Martyr of Loray Mill, a biography of her forebear. Xpress spoke with Horton ahead of her reading at Malaprop’s on Sunday, Jan. 17, to discuss Wiggins’ life, the meaning of her struggles and why it remains important to remember Ella May’s sacrifice.

SNAPSHOTS IN TIME: Comparisons between Asheville’s estimated homeless population in 2005 and 2015 with other cities in North Carolina show mixed results in driving down the amount of homeless individuals statewide. While the amount of chronically homeless individuals decreased in most municipalities, the repercussions of the 2008 recession and a local shortage of affordable housing has stagnated efforts at decreasing the total number of people experiencing some form of homelessness. Statistics gathered from the N.C. Coalition to End Homelessness & the United States Census Bureau

Gimme shelter: In wake of 10-year plan to end homelessne­ss, local agencies regroup

Although chronic homelessness has been curtailed substantially since 2005, the combination of a severe economic downturn, an acute shortage of affordable housing and the rising cost of living has hindered the overall progress in eradicating homelessness. Despite those setbacks, partners in the project are forging ahead with new initiatives to combat housing insecurity and ensure that those in need of shelter get it.

CROSS-CULTURAL CLASSROOMS: With rising numbers of foreign-born students enrolling into local schools, administrators are exploring several unique curriculums to enhance cross-cultural learning and prepare all students to succeed in today’s global society. Photo courtesy of Buncombe County Schools

E Pluribus Unum: Local schools go multicultu­ral

Transitioning to a new language, country and culture can be extremely disruptive — particularly for children. To address the growing numbers of students from non-English-speaking households, the Asheville and Buncombe County schools are developing a curriculum that gives students from all backgrounds a chance to explore what makes each tradition unique, fostering cross-cultural dialogue and preparing students to be productive members of today’s increasingly global society.

SHARING STORIES: Local nonprofit Green Side Up launches its "Speaker Series" this Sunday, Nov. 15, bringing real-life stories from Mission's Childrens' Cancer Center to the community. Image courtesy of Green Side Up Foundation.

Keep on the sunny side: Green Side Up Foundation brightens children’s cancer center

A diagnosis of cancer is a terrifying prospect for anyone. The long, arduous process of treatment and recovery not only physically drains a patient, but also takes an immense emotional toll. For children who’ve just begun their life’s journey, the experience can be especially difficult. In an effort to show compassion for young people battling […]

LIVING LEGACY: Surviving members of ASCORE, a student-led group who fought for equality during the 1960s in Asheville, will be honored during a special reception on Nov. 5, part of UNC-Asheville's Center for Diversity Education 20th anniversary celebration. Photo by Emmanuel Figaro.

Torchbeare­rs: Center for Diversity Education honors ASCORE’s legacy

In 1960, a group of student activists at Asheville’s all-black Stephens-Lee High School courageously challenged the racial status quo, bringing the civil rights movement closer to home. Through public demonstrations, boycotts and engagements with city officials, the members of the Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality helped break down Jim Crow-era barriers. For the past […]

Asheville Music School Rock Band closed the event with a rendition of "Sweet Dreams." Photo by Jeff Tallman

Give!Local kickoff: Very auspicious and very Asheville

Give!Local raised nearly $1,000 in its opening day and many of the nonprofits raised additional money at the kickoff event. Thirty nonprofits, their boards, two food vendors, three bands, a dinosaur and a ghost pepper all convened along with about 200 people from the public.

ILLUSTRATING INSURRECTION: Artist Phil Blank will shwcase several illustrations from the book Dixie Be Damned at an exhibit at Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015. Image courtesy of Phil Blank.

Of the people, for the people: artist Phil Blank exhibits illustrati­ons from Dixie Be Damned

Inspired by Authors/activists Neal Shirley and Saralee Stafford’s book Dixie Be Damned, artist Phil Blank has created stunning visual representations of the hard-fought, often violent struggles of the disenfranchised throughout Southern history, from the coalfields of Tennessee to the anti-KKK partisan groups that roamed Robeson County, N.C., during Reconstruction.