INTRODUCTION TO

WNC History Lecture Series

The six lectures in this series are available to view on demand. To access the entire series, click the link below and make a donation of $5 or more. The links to all six lectures will be emailed to you once check out is complete.

All donations support our Community-Funded Ticket Program, which provides no cost tickets to our live events to those who could not afford to attend otherwise.

During our 2021 virtual Introduction to WNC History Lecture Series, we heard from seven engaging speakers on topics integral to the history, culture, and development of western North Carolina.

Museum Education Associate for Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center, Peter Koch presented on the settlement of and transportation within Western North Carolina. 

Dr. Ben Steere spoke on his work on Cherokee mound and village sites like Kituwah, Nikwasi, and Cowee. These are prominent places in the Cherokee heartland of western North Carolina. Despite a history of encroaching development and site destruction, these resilient places serve as sacred and enduring monuments to Cherokee communities.

Rep. John Ager will discussed the drover’s road through the Hickory Nut Gap and the historic Sherill’s Inn. 

Asheville native and WNCHA board member Kieta Osteen-Cochrane presented on the Von Ruck Sanitarium—one of many such facilities built in and around Asheville to treat tuberculosis patients in the late 1800s-early 1900s—as well as its impacts on Asheville and regional tourism.

Ronnie Pepper discussed his research into the Kingdom of Happy Land, demonstrating the importance of viewing it from an African American perspective. Lisa R. Withers presented a portion of her dissertation research into the Negro Motorist Green Book sites as part of a network of resistance from discrimination.

Dr. Erica Abrams Locklear of UNC-Asheville concluded the series with a discussion of literature and stereotypes of western North Carolina and Appalachia. From traveler accounts and color writers, to stereotyped hillbillies and a romanticized land, this presentation examined the changes in the depictions of this region and its peoples over time.