Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Times They Are a Changing:

I took a road trip recently to my native land, Asheville, North Carolina. When I left Asheville, lo those many years ago, it was 6% Black, and probably 95% WASP. There was the Lee family who ran the Chinese restaurant downtown, a smattering of Jewish people, I guess, and that's about it. Someone said Asheville was "for the newly wed or nearly dead"; great place to raise kids or retire. People started moving into Asheville from elsewhere as industries got outsourced in the Midwest, and more recently, at the turn of the millennium, when it became a mecca for New Agers, drawn by alleged electromagnetic energy created by the vortex of some mountains (or something), and various hip place to live reports in the mainstream media. In any case, the place where I grew up, full of Southern Baptists at Shindig on the Green has evolved to a place that has had a Wiccan mayor, a few more people of color, and now, a Black woman is mayor even! It's the Takoma Park of the South, the Santa Fe of the East. It is a place where the folks at drive thru speaker at Chik Fil A on Tunnel Road cheerily chirp: "I'll see ya at the winda!" (That's mountain talk for window, for you city types.) I love my hometown.

During my junior or senior year in high school, I was incensed by a letter to the editor of The Asheville Citizen Times. The writer was flabbergasted that a national holiday was being considered to honor Martin Luther King, a person he considered incendiary and responsible for inciting riots and violence. I was politicized by that letter,and took it to school and shared it around. I wrote a letter to the Editor myself in response, and so did a white classmate who became a good friend. She sent me this today from the Land of the Sky, check out

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