Urban News, YMI discuss race, history & Thomas Wolfe’s “The Child by Tiger” story

Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe wrote about a 1906 killing spree that took the lives of three blacks and two whites. In a discussion series hosted by the YMI, UNCA history professor Darin Waters and Wolfe scholar Joanne Mauldin will talk about Wolfe’s story, “The Child by Tiger,” on Tueday, Nov. 27, and Thursday, Nov. 29. Community newspaper the Urban News previews the series.

Local media report

from the Urban News

On a cold, snowy November evening in 1906, a black man called “Will Harris,” whose real identity was unknown, went on a killing spree that took the lives of three blacks and two whites in Asheville. At the time, Thomas Wolfe was six years old; thirty-two years later, he wrote about the events in a short story entitled “The Child by Tiger.”

Wolfe’s narrative will be the focus of a display at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial on North Market St., throughout November, and of a two-part discussion series at the YMI Cultural Center on November 27 and 29. The programs will be led by Dr. Darin Waters of the UNC Asheville History Department and independent Thomas Wolfe scholar Ms. Joanne Mauldin. …

Among the issues to be discussed are: Is Asheville still segregated? Are race relations in Asheville different from those in other parts of North Carolina? Does the 1906 Will Harris event illustrate any truths about why race relations in Asheville are what they are? What impression did the event make on Thomas Wolfe the child, and what does the adult Wolfe’s short story, “The Child by Tiger,” suggest about the event and the writer? How does the written record differ from the lore handed down through generations in Asheville’s black community? …

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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