WNCHA and OLLI host Virtual symposium on Asheville monuments Oct. 17

Press release from the Western North Carolina Historical Association:

On Saturday, Oct. 17, at 4 p.m., the Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA), in collaboration with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) of UNC-Asheville, will present a virtual symposium focusing on monuments and commemoration in Asheville.

Our city, like many others, is currently wrestling with the meanings and fates of many controversial statues and monuments. In Asheville, a task force was recently created to determine whether to remove the Vance Monument, a 65-foot obelisk at the center of downtown Asheville dedicated to North Carolina Governor, Senator, Confederate soldier, and slave owner, Zebulon B. Vance. The task force expects to present a final plan on whether to rededicate, recontextualize, repurpose, or remove and relocate the monument on Thursday, Nov. 19.

This symposium is intended to facilitate community engagement and dialogue in advance of the Vance Monument Task Force’s report with their recommendations for the monument and square.

This program, hosted via Zoom, will feature several notable scholars and allow for audience questions.

Dr. Steven Nash of East Tennessee State University, Dr. Dwight Mullen (emeritus) of UNCA, and Dr. Fitzhugh Brundage of the University of North Carolina and the Commemorative Landscapes initiative will deliver 10-20 minute lectures on:

  1. The legacy of Zebulon Vance and his commemoration elsewhere in North Carolina as well as Statuary Hall
  2. The historical uses of Pack Square for auctions of enslaved people as well as discussion of prominent and notable figures in the history of Asheville’s African-American community
  3. The memorialization of the Lost Cause and Confederacy as well as the history and possible future of monuments in general
  4. The work and options of the task force

This symposium is free to WNCHA and OLLI members and available on a sliding scale to non-members. Tickets are capped at 300 people and can be reserved at wnchistory.org/events.

There will be a time for questions submitted and moderated through the Zoom chat function at the conclusion of the presentation. Questions may also be submitted in advance to smh@wnchistory.org. This event will be recorded.

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