Now Online, Oct. 16 – UNC Asheville’s African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference Will Bring Together Scholars and Community

conference name, date, university logo
September 30, 2020

African American Health and the COVID-19 Crisis, Community Resilience Models, Reflecting BLM in Art, and the 400-Year Context Will Be Focus Areas

UNC Asheville’s seventh African Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia Conference will take place online this year, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16. The conference is free and open to everyone; the conference schedule and registration information will be posted at the conference website,, closer to the date.

Continuing last year’s theme, Existence as Resistance: Expressions of Resilience, this year’s conference will include time for Q&A and discussion. Conference founder and director, UNC Asheville Associate Professor of History Darin J. Waters, who also is the University’s executive director of community engagement, and the producer of BPR’s The Waters and Harvey Show, will provide a welcoming talk at 10 a.m.

Featured Presentations:

Community Building and Resilience in Huntington West Virginia:  The Making of a Black Appalachian Community

African Americans and the COVID-19 Crisis

  • Rochelle Monique Brandon, M.D., a Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and principal of Brandon Gynecology Associates in Charlotte, N.C.

African American Resistance and Resilience through Artistic Expression in Southern Appalachia: Memorializing the Black Lives Matter Movement, featuring four people instrumental in creating the downtown Asheville BLM mural

  • Marie T. Cochran, founding curator of the Affrilachian Artist Project, and Lehman Brady Professor at Duke University.
  • Joseph Pearson, whose recent commissions include Heritage, a mural at All Souls Cathedral in Biltmore Village; New Shiloh, a Visual History, for the Community Foundation of WNC; and a multi-panel work for BPR addressing the George Floyd protests.
  • Jenny Pickens, the first artist-in-residence at 22 London, has been commissioned to create a giant mural in the courtyard of the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts downtown.
  • Asheville City Council Member Sheneika Smith.

Changing Our Narrative: Diversity and Inclusion and American History

The program also will include presentations of undergraduate research by UNC Asheville students.

For more information, visit