The WNC Historical Association has worked hard over the years to not only preserve Western North Carolina’s past but to educate the public on the state’s rich history and literary treasures. It is in this spirit that the association hosts their annual series of eight programs on featured themes such as Richard Sharpe Smith: Architect of Asheville; Hillbillyland: Myth or Reality; William Bartram: America’s First Naturalist; and The Musical and Dance Heritage of Western North Carolina.
On Saturday, March 4, at the Reuter Center on UNC Asheville’s campus, the programming continues with a presentation on displacement, adaptation and hope. After Coal: The Future of Appalachia and Wales is presented by Pat Beaver, Ph.D. and professor emeritus and filmmaker Tom Hansell of Appalachian State University and tells the story of individuals struggling to find a new life and build a new future in the coalfields of both eastern Kentucky and South Wales.
“This is a moving story and should, in particular, resonate with our WNC audience, given the displacement and uprooting of WNC families in the 1930s due to the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” says program coordinator Bill Lineberry. “How did Western North Carolina adapt?”
The presentation will open with Hansell’s 50-minute documentary film depicting the job loss and uprooting in coal mining regions and will be followed by a discussion led by Dr. Beaver, as she explores how the two regions attempt to cope with the rift created in family traditions and culture as they reinvent their economies in order to survive.
The program will be held on Saturday, March 4, at 2 p.m. at UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center, 1 Campus View Road. Admission is $5 for the general public and free for WNCHA members.