South Asheville’s historically African-American community of Shiloh pre-dates 1870, though it was moved to its present location between Hendersonville and Sweeten Creek roads in 1880 when George Vanderbilt bought its original land for his Biltmore Estate. The Shiloh Community Association (SCA) was established in 2000, and seeks to preserve the history of the neighborhood and to promote a sense of community among its residents. The SCA, in partnership with Asheville Parks and Recreation, will hold its annual Black History Celebration on Saturday, February 17, from 1–4 p.m. at the Linwood Crump Shiloh Recreation Complex.
“We have a speaker and a potluck dinner,” says Norma Baynes who has been active with the neighborhood organization since its inception. “All residents in Shiloh bring a dish and we sit down and eat in fellowship.”
Through its relationships with groups like Habitat for Humanity and the City of Asheville, the nonprofi t SCA involves its residents, and especially its young people, in remembering its past and preserving the sense of community that has existed there since the original settlement was established by freed slaves.
Activities throughout the year include a community garden, regular cookouts and gatherings, and work projects such as stream restoration. They hold annual events on Martin Luther King Day, with work projects that involve its youth. “The work day is to honor by lending a hand for Martin Luther King,” says Lauralee Petritz, the association’s garden program coordinator.
“We stay busy,” Baynes says. “We should have a lot going on this year.”
The group was one of three WNC areas out of 65 to receive, in November, the 2017 WNC Honors Award as a Community of Distinction, a recognition awarded annually by WNC Communities, a nonprofi t seeking to improve and sustain rural communities and their way of life.
To learn more about the Shiloh Community Association or to donate, visit shilohnc.org or find them on Facebook. The Linwood Crump Shiloh Recreation Complex is located at 121 Shiloh Road in South Asheville.