Free program examines slavery and freedom in WNC on March 8

Press Release

From North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources:

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — “African American history in North Carolina does not stop at the foothills, but extends west across the mountains,” observes Earl Ijames, N.C. Museum of History curator of African American history. “Archival records, journals, and other documents verify freedom seeking by the enslaved, and contributions by those free.” Ijames will be the guest speaker at two different programs March 8.

Ijames will present a program on slavery and freedom March 8 at noon at Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort, and again at 4 p.m. in Asheville at the Western Regional Office of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. Both free programs are open to the public. The noontime program at Mountain Gateway is a “Lunch and Learn” event where participants bring lunch and a drink is provided.

The Freedom for All Exhibit is at the Mountain Gateway Museum through March 19. The exhibit examines the path from the Emancipation Proclamation to the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the United States. Ijames was the curator who organized the traveling exhibit, which will tour libraries, historic sites, museums, and other cultural venues through Aug. 10, 2015. His talk at Mountain Gateway will examine the exhibit and also reference documents and artifacts from that period.

At the Western Regional Office, Ijames will focus on the history of struggle and documents relating to slavery and the Civil War. Many of the formerly enslaved freedom seekers sought refuge in the mountains. There are stories also of escapes from western North Carolina to New Bern. No major battles were fought in western North Carolina, but an intense and violent guerilla war raged there.

The program is part of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War administered by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The traveling exhibit and the “Freedom Coming, Freedom for All” exhibition at the N.C. Museum of History are joint projects of the N.C. Museum of History and the N.C. Freedom Monument Park.

For more information, please call either (919) 807-7389, Mountain Gateway at (828) 668-9259 or the Western Regional Office at (828) 296-7230. The Division of State History Museums and the Western Regional Office are within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.
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About the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s cultural resources to build the social, cultural and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDCR’s mission is to enrich lives and communities by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history and libraries in North Carolina that will spark creativity, stimulate learning, preserve the state’s history and promote the creative economy. NCDCR was the first state organization in the nation to include all agencies for arts and culture under one umbrella.

Through arts efforts led by the N.C. Arts Council, the N.C. Symphony and the N.C. Museum of Art, NCDCR offers the opportunity for enriching arts education for young and old alike and spurring the economic stimulus engine for our state’s communities. NCDCR’s Divisions of Archives and Records, Historical Resources, State Historic Sites and State History Museums preserve, document and interpret North Carolina’s rich cultural heritage to offer experiences of learning and reflection. NCDCR’s State Library of North Carolina is the principal library of state government and builds the capacity of all libraries in our state to develop and to offer access to educational resources through traditional and online collections including genealogy and resources for the blind and physically handicapped.

NCDCR annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council and the State Archives. NCDCR champions our state’s creative industry that accounts for more than 300,000 jobs and generates nearly $18.5 billion in revenues. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit


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