RAIL Project Symposium

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Multiple dates

RAIL Project Symposium

A symposium focusing on the RAIL Project, which centers the stories of incarcerated African American railroad laborers in 19th century NC.

By UNC Asheville

When and where

Date and time

Starts on Thursday, March 30 · 7pm EDT


UNCA Campus and various memorial sites (memorial sites on April 1st only) 1 University Heights Asheville, NC 28804

About this event

Schedule for RAIL Project Symposium – March 30, 31, and April 1

Thursday, March 30 – Manheimer Room, Reuter Center

7:00 PM - Keynote: Dr. Darin Waters, Deputy Secretary, NC Office of Archives and History

Reception following

Friday, March 31 – Mountain View Room, Kimmel Arena

8:30 AM – Coffee and Pastries

9:00 – Welcome – Dr. Tracey Rizzo (Dean of Humanities, UNCA)

9:15 - Session 1

How We Began, What We Did, and What It All Means

RAIL Board Member Roundtable

Moderator - Steve Little (Mayor, City of Marion)

Ray McKesson (CFO McDowell Technical College, ret.)

Stephanie Stepson Twitty (President and CEO Eagle Market Streets Development Corp.)

RoAnn Bishop (Director, Mountain Gateway Museum)

Ashley Whittle (Archives and Special Collections Assistant ,UNCA)

Jim Stokely (President, Wilma Dykeman Legacy)

Jeff Futch (Western Regional Supervisor, NC Department of Cultural and Natural Resources)

10:45 – Break

11:00 – Session 2

Using Human Remains Detection Dogs and Ground Penetrating Radar to Help Locate Historic

Burial Grounds

Moderator – Dr. Sarah Judson (Chair, Department of History, UNCA)

Cat Warren (Department of English, NC State University, Author: What the Dog Knows)

Blair Tormey (Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, Western Carolina University)

Paul Martin (Martin Archaeology Consultants)

12:30 – Lunch Break

1:30 – Session 3

Moderator – Dr. Abena Boakyewa-Ansah (Department of History, UNCA)

Partners in Memorializing: The Asheville African American Cemeteries Project, The Buncombe

County Remembrance Project, and The African Americans in the Smokies Project

Dr. Ellen Holmes Pearson (Department of History, UNCA and South Asheville and The 828

Digital Archives for Historical Equity Project)

Dr. Joseph Fox (CEO Fox Management Consulting Enterprises and Buncombe County

Remembrance Project)

Antoine Fletcher (Science Communicator, Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

3:00 – Break

3:15 – Session 4

Where Do We Go From Here: Challenges and Opportunities

Moderator – Dr. Dan Pierce (Department of History, UNCA)

Cayla Colclasure (Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology, UNC-CH)

Dr. Jeff Keith (Department of Global Studies, Warren Wilson College)

Dr. Kevin Kehrberg (Department of Music, Warren Wilson College)

Anne Chesky-Smith (Director, WNC Historical Association)

Saturday, April 1 - Various Memorial Sites

Four Field Opportunities: Session 1 @ 10:00 AM; Session 2 @ 11:30 AM

The Swannanoa Gap – Anne Chesky Smith

Andrews Geyser and the RAIL Memorial – Steve Little and Paul Twitty

Andrews Geyser and Human Remains Detection Dogs – Cat Warren

A Walk Down the Point Lookout Greenway (2 miles on pavement) – Dan Pierce

About the organizer

Organized by
UNC Asheville