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Smoky Mountains park to hold town halls on Black history

September 16, 2021 GMT

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Officials with Great Smoky Mountains National Park have scheduled three town hall events to introduce the public to the history of Blacks within and around the park.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the history of Blacks in the park by attending a 30-minute program, according to a news release. Facilitators will then lead an open discussion about current research and upcoming projects.

While Blacks have inhabited the Great Smoky Mountains region since at least the early 16th century, little is known about their presence. The park is conducting this research effort to better understand the untold history of the Black experience in southern Appalachia.

The first town hall is scheduled for Thursday at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Future town halls are scheduled for October at the University of North Carolina Asheville and Western Carolina University.