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WNCHA Lectures: Beacon Blanket Mill

10/21/2021 @ 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM


The Western North Carolina Historical Association concludes our month of labor history programming Thursday, October 21 at 6PM. Join us (virtually via Zoom) for a presentation on the history of Swannanoa’s Beacon Blanket mill from writer and director Rebecca Williams. The Beacon Blanket mill was once billed as the “largest blanket manufacturer in the world.” The company moved from New Bedford MA to Swannanoa NC to avoid labor unions in the midst of the Great Depression and was an integral part of the local economy until its closure in 2002. Williams will discuss Beacon’s labor history in the context of the migration of the textile industry to the South, and will also share short clips from her upcoming film Blanket Town: The Rise and Fall of an American Mill Town.

About the Speaker: Rebecca Williams is a writer, director, oral historian, and digital media storyteller who has facilitated community-based arts projects for the past 25 years in Virginia, Kentucky, Florida, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. A graduate of Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, she is currently a Folkways Corps Reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio show, Inside Appalachia.

Tickets: Free for WNCHA members/ $5 for General Admission. We also have no-cost, community-funded tickets available. We want our events to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you are able please consider making a donation along with your ticket purchase. These donations are placed in our Community Fund, which allows us to offer tickets at no cost to those who would not be able to attend otherwise.

Note: This event will broadcast live via Zoom. Registrants will receive an email with the link to join at purchase and prior to the event. Like our other virtual programs, this event will be recorded, and available on our website within a few days of airing.

(Image courtesy Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center)



Western North Carolina Historical Association received an American Rescue Plan Humanities Grant from North Carolina Humanities, www.nchumanities.org. Funding for this grant was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as part of the American Rescue Plan Act economic stabilization plan. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of North Carolina Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.


6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
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Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA)
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