America continues to have a difficult time facing its past, especially when this requires taking an in-depth look at slavery. Slavery does not comport with our claims about our founding ideals. Thus, when memorializing the past, Americans are more comfortable with images that don’t glaringly highlight the country’s hypocrisy.
Nearly 150 years after the end of the Civil War, one of the era’s most important historical documents was displayed in Western North Carolina for the first time ever.
In Buncombe County, thousands of slaves toiled as cooks, farmers, tour guides, maids, blacksmiths, tailors, miners, farmers, road builders and more, local records show. And after mostly ignoring that troubled history for a century and a half, the county is now taking groundbreaking steps to honor the contributions of those former residents by making its slave records readily available online.