These programs are provided free for our members. For the general public, please consider donating $5.00 or more for each program you watch.
All proceeds fund future programming.

LitCafe: Dale Neal presents Appalachian Book of the Dead                                                                                              June 8, 2021

In this one-hour event, we are joined by local author and journalist Dale Neal. Dale discusses his latest work the 2020 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award nominated novel Appalachian Book of the Dead and reads several selections. He talks about his strong sense of place in his writing and answers a variety of questions about inspirations.

Intro to WNC History Lecture Series: Kieta Osteen-Cochrane on Sanitariums, Tuberculosis, and Tourism
May 27, 2021

The fourth event in our Intro to WNC series, Kieta Osteen Cochrane brings us the story of Asheville’s emergence as a tourism destination centered around tuberculosis and its treatment at several sanitariums in and around Asheville. Specifically, the work of Dr. Karl Von Ruck and the Winyah Sanitarium are examined in greater detail. Also, WNCHA Public Programs Director Trevor Freeman present on the link between the climatic treatment of Tuberculosis here and the push for conservation/preservation of forests and parks and reserves. This hour-long event was pre-recorded, but features a short live Q&A session at the end.

WNCHA 2020 Outstanding Achievement Award Ceremony: Ann Miller Woodford
May 18, 2021

In this one-hour event, we present the multitalented Ann Miller Woodford our annual Outstanding Achievement Award for her activism and achievements illustrating the history of African Americans in far-western North Carolina. Ann is the founder of the 501c3 non-profit One Dozen Who Care, as well as a painter, historian, and singer. Her book, When All God’s Children Get Together is also the basis for a travelling exhibit she helped create with the Mountain Heritage Center, and is on display at the Smith-McDowell House from February-July, 2021.

LitCafe: Mary Othella Burnette presents Lige of the Black Walnut Tree: Growing up Black in Southern Appalachia                                                                                                                                                                    
May 11, 2021  

In this fifth installment of our LitCafe series, Mary Othella Burnette, who grew up in Black Mountain in the 1930s, describes her early life and the writing process behind her 2020 memoir. She speaks to the experiences of various African Americans in her community as well as her path from small mountain town to teaching in California, and recalls her time at Allen High School in Asheville with classmate Nina Simone. 

Intro to WNC History Lecture Series: Rep. John Ager on the Drovers Road and Sherill’s Inn                       
April 29, 2021

Our series continues with this one-hour program exploring a historic and scenic area of WNC. Representative John Ager explains the various people who travelled through the Hickory Nut Gap, on foot or by stagecoach, and tells us about the old Sherill’s Inn which he now operates. Topics include tourism, livestock drives, the Civil War, and changes in transportation. 

LitCafe: Steve Little and Dr. Richard Starnes on John Ehle’s The Road                                                                
April 13, 2021

LitCafe is a one-hour event where historians and authors discuss western North Carolina books, sometimes their own. In this installment, Dr. Richard Starnes discusses John Ehle, the author, while Steve Little discusses his famous work of historical fiction The Road. Little reads select passages from the work and also explores the truth and the fiction in this important work about the incarcerated laborers who built the WNC Railroad.

Intro to WNC History Lecture Series: Dr. Ben Steere on Cherokee Mounds and Village Sites                     
March 25, 2021

In this one-hour program, we are joined by Dr. Ben Steere, a professor of anthropology at Western Carolina University who also directs the Chrokee Studies program. Dr. Steere reveals the loss of and simultaneous resiliency of many Cherokee sites, and describes how mounds are considered living and active parts of Cherokee cosmology and identity. He answers a number of questions at the end.

LitCafe: DuPont Forest: A History with Danny Bernstein                                                                                           
March 11, 2021

This one hour program features author and hiker Danny Bernstein who discusses her recent book DuPont Forest: A History. Danny shares the special cultural resources left in this state forest that insprired her to to document the history of the people and place.

Intro to WNC History Lecture Series: Peter Koch on Settlement of WNC and Transportation                   February 25, 2021

This 1-hour virtual webinar kicks off our Intro to WNC Lecture Series. Peter Koch of the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University discusses the settlement of WNC by the Cherokee and, later, the Scots-Irish, as well as transportation within the mountains. This provides the framework for many of our subsequent presenters in the series.

LitCafe: When All God’s Children Get Together w Ann Miller Woodford                                                                     February 23, 2021

In this 1-hour virtual program, Ann Miller Woodford, a multi-talented painter, author, and historian, discusses her book When All God’s Children Get Together: A Celebration of the Lives and Music of African American People in Far Western North Carolina. Her book was the result of 5+ years of research and combines vignettes about numerous individuals with a narrative history of African Americans in the place she grew up and lives. Ann’s event kicked off our LitCafe series for 2021.

Part 2: South Asheville Cemetery and The Bailey Family
February 23, 2021

This 16-minute webinar by WNCHA Executive Director Anne Chesky Smith is the second of three exploring the connections between the South Asheville Cemetery, Western NC’s oldest public cemetery for African-American burials, and the Smith-McDowell House, Asheville’s oldest extant brick house, built c1840. This video specifically looks at the Bailey family and how to research formerly enslaved people using primary documentation.

Part 1: South Asheville Cemetery and George Avery
January 18, 2021

This 20-minute webinar by WNCHA Executive Director Anne Chesky Smith is the first of three exploring the connections between the South Asheville Cemetery, Western NC’s oldest public cemetery for African-American burials, and the Smith-McDowell House, Asheville’s oldest extant brick house, built c1840. This video specifically looks at the life and final resting place of George Avery, a blacksmith and Union soldier, who had formerly been enslaved by the McDowell family.

Julian Price Documentary, Discussion with Director Erin Derham
January 14, 2021

In this 20-minute presentation, Julian Price documentary director, Erin Derham, discusses making the film about “the late philanthropist’s instrumental efforts in transforming Asheville from a boarded-up urban center to a flourishing destination.”

To find out how to view the documentary, email education at

2020 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award Presentation
December 16, 2020

View this hour-long 2020 award presentation with readings by all the finalists.

Originated by the Louis Lipinsky family and now also supported by Michael Sartisky, PhD, and the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Advisory Board, the TWML Award has been presented annually for printed works that focus special attention on Western North Carolina since 1955 when Wilma Dykeman was presented the award for The French Broad. In 2020, Sandra Muse Isaacs won for Eastern Cherokee Stories: A Living Oral Tradition and Its Cultural Continuance.

Guardians of Our Troubled Waters discussion with the filmmaker, David Weintraub
December 3, 2020

In this 30-minute Q&A session, award-winning film director David Weintraub discusses his new film Guardians of Our Troubled Waters. Guardians focuses on three communities — Western North Carolina, East Tennessee, and South Florida, the stewardship efforts that grew to protect the French Broad River, the Pigeon River, and the Everglades, and the lessons learned for today’s world.

For information on how to view the documentary, email education at

Horace Kephart’s Bryson City
November 14, 2020

This 30-minute video features Bryson City landmarks that Horace wrote about during his residence there. Learn about the life and legacy of Horace Kephart as it intersected with the people and environment here in town and around Deep Creek. The talk ends in Bryson City Cemetery, where Kephart is buried overlooking the town, the mountains, and the park he helped to establish.

Asheville’s Monuments: Past, Present, & Future
October 17, 2020

This 1.5-hour virtual symposium focused on monuments and commemoration in Asheville.

Our city, like many others, is currently wrestling with the meanings and fates of many controversial statues and monuments. This symposium aimed facilitate community engagement and dialogue in advance of the Vance Monument Task Force’s anticipated report at the end of October 2020 with their recommendations for the Vance Monument and Pack Square. This program, hosted via Zoom, will featured Dr. Steve Nash, Dr. Dwight Mullen, and Dr. Fitzhugh Brundage.

Lit Cafe: Back of Beyond
October 8, 2020

In 2019, Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography, published by Great Smoky Mountains Association and co-written by George Ellison and Janet McCue, won our Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award. In this 45-minute presentation the book’s editor, Frances Figart, interviewed the authors about their experience writing this award-winning publication. During the interview, the authors read excerpts from the biography, shared behind-the-scenes details about their research, provided insights into their writing process, and disclosed mysteries of Kephart’s past still to be discovered.

Lit Cafe: The French Broad with Jim Stokely
September 10, 2020

This 1-hour presentation and discussion of Wilma Dykeman’s award-winning 1955 book, “The French Broad,” features her son, Jim Stokely. Wilma Dykeman (1920 – 2006) was a writer, speaker, teacher, historian, and environmentalist. Her son, Jim Stokely, President of the Wilma Dykeman Legacy, speaks about his mother and her groundbreaking work.