Library celebrates Black History Month
Watauga County is not a one-color community. That"s part of the message folks from the Mennonite Brethren will be delivering at the Watauga County Library as part of Black History Month, adult services librarian Evelyn Johnson said.
"(Black history) is an important part of our local history that gets left out sometimes," she said.
For help delving into the subject, she turned to Mennonite"s Virgil Greer, who has lived in Watauga County all his life and has no shortage of stories.
On Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. at the library (140 Queen St.), he"ll highlight the community of Junaluska.
"It"s the only African American community in Boone," Greer said. "We"re probably the only original community with its original inhabitants in Boone."
With well-known names like Whittington and Grimes, the community of Junaluska has been around since the 1900s, but black history begins generations earlier.
"Blacks have been here in Watauga County since before the freed slaves," Greer said, "and this is one of the areas that we began to settle in from surrounding counties, as agriculture began to disappear and commerce began to come in."
To him, February is about recognition.
"We"re just as much a part of the town as anyone else," he said. "We"ve been sheltered and kind of hidden away, even though we"re very close to town. I can throw a rock from this community to King Street, basically, and we"ve been overlooked as being a viable part of the town."
It"s a town that they, just as Boone"s Caucasian ancestors, helped build.
And he and Johnson hope the community comes out for the program.
To get in the spirit of Black History Month, we asked Johnson for a list of books for families, all available at the Watauga County Library.
1. "Jackie Robinson: Baseball"s Greatest Pioneer" by Jason Glaser
2. "In the Spirit of Martin, the Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King" by Gary Chassman
3. "Interesting People: Black America History Makers" by George Lee
4. "People Get Ready: A New History of Black Gospel Music" by Bob Darden
5. "Black Bard of North Carolina: George Moses Horton and His Poetry" by George Moses Horton
6. "Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made" by David Halberstam
7. "Oprah: A Biography" by Kitty Kelley
8. "Barack Obama: A Biography" by Joann Price