Park to host African American History Open House discussions

by Jul 19, 2019Happenings

African American family sitting on the front porch ca. 1890-1903.  Photo by William Orland Garner (


Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials invite the public to two open house events concerning the history of African Americans within and around the Park. The discussion events will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1 at the Blount County Public Library in Maryville, Tenn. and on Monday, Aug. 5 at the Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center in Waynesville.

“The National Park Service is charged to preserve all the many voices of our past,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “In learning about our past, we open the doors to our future. We hope that even more people will see themselves included and connected to the Smokies through this effort.”

Participants will have the opportunity to both learn about the history of African Americans in the park and also to share their personal experiences or family stories. While African Americans have been in the Great Smoky Mountains since at least the early 19th century, knowledge of their presence is relatively low. The park is conducting this research effort to better understand the untold history of the African American experience in southern Appalachia.

The research is supported by Friends of the Smokies. For more information on how you can be involved, please contact Resource Education Park Ranger Rhonda Wise at

– National Park Service release