Blue Ridge Books celebrates the publication of “Lift Every Voice! African American History in Haywood County,” Dec. 15

Press release from Blue Ridge Books:

On Friday, December 15, at 4:00 pm Blue Ridge Books will celebrate the publication of Lift Every Voice! African American History in Haywood County: Volume 1 — Honoring Our Elders. The public is invited to join people whose interviews appear in the book to hear first-hand recollections of lives spent in this area.

A project of the Pigeon Center Multicultural Development Center, Lift Every Voice!is part of an effort to collect the history of the black community in this county. This work began in 2012 with panel discussions on education, civic life, and on the two historic Pigeon St. churches, Mt. Olive Baptist and Jones Temple AME Zion. The discussions featured members of the community from both Waynesville and Canton and were videotaped by the Historical Society.

Lift Every Voice! began in 2014 with interviewing the oldest members of local black families. In the book, the history, culture, and contributions of African Americans in our county are vividly portrayed in eighteen interviews. Along with personal reminiscences of how things were “back then” — childhood friendships, farm life, church activities, favorite teachers,jobs when opportunities were limited, and the harmony within the black community — the book contains a wealth of old photographs.

Partnering with the Pigeon Center in preserving these materials are the History Collection of the county library as well as the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University.

This event is the first in a series of sharing the stories from the book at the new location of Blue Ridge Books, 428 Hazelwood Avenue. The series will continue in January and February.

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