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Honoring history at the East End/Valley Street Community Heritage Festival

The neighborhood is embracing the present and looking to the future through the lens of its past.

Lottie Mae Poole at the East End/Valley Street community heritage festival

At 100 years old, Lottie Mae Poole is the neighborhood’s oldest resident and will receive a special recognition.

Photo by Gwen Jones

East End/Valley Street is the oldest African-American neighborhood in Asheville and will be celebrating its storied past with a community-wide festival on Saturday, Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The festivities will take place at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park — including a parade, music, a special kids’ area, food trucks, and vendors.

The neighborhood was home to nearly all the first African-American churches in Asheville, the historic YMI Cultural Center, the first school for Black children, and two significant African-American schools in the city. But in the 1970s, much of the neighborhood was razed and its residents dispersed under urban renewal projects.

In 2010, the East End/Valley Street Neighborhood Association was reestablished to preserve and protect the community and its heritage as recent development further altered the area’s landscape. Support the community coming together while you have some fun at the festival.

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