Kudos to Jake Frankel for his revealing April article, “Bought and Sold,” regarding Buncombe County’s endeavor to publish records of the sale and trade of the very human beings upon whose backs our county was built. Frankel adeptly describes this project that sheds some light on another part of a nearly forgotten story and will be an invaluable research tool for current and future historians.
It is also a pleasure to see the recognition of one of our elected officials, Drew Reisinger, performing so conscientiously in his capacity as register of deeds. Drew and his team have done an excellent job as the stewards of Buncombe County’s official records, truly bringing us fully into the 21st century by facilitating online access to these and many other documents that may otherwise have remained in dusty storage rooms until destroyed by utter neglect. The historic value of old and long-forgotten records cannot be underestimated, and Reisinger is to be lauded for his part in preserving this part of our local history.
Digitizing these old documents is an enormous task, and providing access to these types of records, as Frankel points out in his article, is lacking elsewhere in the country. By preserving these public documents in digital format and facilitating their ready accessibility to the general population, Buncombe County, once again demonstrates its commitment to progressivism and emerges as a national leader.
Thank you, Mountain Xpress, for continuing to honor the heritage of our area with yet another informative article.
— Jim Boyer