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.

A PERSONAL TOUCH: Local businesses around Asheville, such as Dancing Bear Toys (above), play an indispensible role in driving the area’s economy and lending the city its unique ambiance. Through a combination of hands on ingenuity, creative approaches and a strong sense of community, Asheville’s specialty shops and boutiques are a testament to the viability of independent, locally-owned businesses in a world of big box chains and internet megastores. Photo by Max Hunt.

Local businesses drive Asheville vibe

Walk any downtown Asheville street and you’re likely to encounter some quirky storefronts offering unusual products. Together, these “specialty shops” or boutiques, most of them locally owned businesses, are a key component of the city’s distinctive flavor, attracting thousands of tourists each year and helping fuel the economy.

FOR THE LOVE OF BIKES: Asheville on Bikes' ninth annual Bike Love  event  Saturday will raise money for the nonprofit advocacy organization to work on bike-friendly policy changes. Above, a moment from last year's event. Photo by Pat Barcas

Asheville on Bikes rolls out Bike Love 2016

Who knew that heartbreak could be so good for the local cycling scene? Back in 2005, bike advocacy helped Mike Sule distract himself from the heartache of a tough breakup. Since then, however, Asheville on Bikes, the organization he subsequently founded, has become a well-known advocate on both local and state-level transportation issues. In support […]

Image courtesy of Green Side Up Foundation

Green Side Up Foundation holds fundraiser­s Jan. 30 – Feb. 4 to support child cancer patients

As we roll into 2016, it’s easy to neglect the resolutions for the new year many of us made a month ago. But for children and their families battling cancer and dealing with the side effects of treatment, giving up or forgetting isn’t an option. To assist these children and their families in their time […]

NAMES OF THE FALLEN: Two granite markers in the vicinity of their gravesites bear the names of the 13 victims of the Shelton Laurel Massacre: James Shelton; David Shelton; James Shelton, Jr. ; Azariah Shelton; William Shelton; Rod Shelton; Jasper Chandler; Ellison King; Hellen Moore; [young] David Shelton; James Metcalfe; Wade Moore; and Joe Woods. Photo by Max Hunt

Blood in the valley: The Shelton Laurel Massacre’s haunting legacy

“Will the America of the future — will this vast, rich Union ever realize what itself cost back there, after all?” – Walt Whitman In January 1863, at the height of the Civil War, Confederate soldiers of the 64th North Carolina Regiment, composed mostly of men from the western counties, marched into Shelton Laurel. Their […]

Shuvonda Harper works out of the Edington Center on Livingston Street. Harper uses new facilitation techniques to  encourage inclusive self-governance in the Residents Council of the Asheville Housing Authority. Photo by Virginia Daffron

Beyond stalemate: New decision-making models foster better solutions

Can new ways of structuring the rules that govern how organizations gather information and make decisions help our community move beyond entrenched positions and polarizing rhetoric? Some local consultants say yes, and point to local organizations that are already using new tools to increase participation in developing and implementing solutions to challenging issues.

Marching onto College Street

Hundreds march to remember MLK, continue civil rights work

Marching in the tradition of the civil rights movement, people of all ages set off on foot and on wheels from St. James AME Church on a bright cold MLK Day morning on Mon., January 18. The Peace March culminated in a rally at Pack Square Park. Several hundred marchers turned out to remember King’s life and legacy, sing, dance and hear remarks from community leaders.

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.