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Arts & Entertainment ‘Journeys of Courage’ to discuss African Americans history in Jackson

The Jackson County Public Library in downtown Sylva will host a panel discussion on the history of integration in Jackson County on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room.

Facilitated by artist and scholar Marie T. Cochran, director of the Affrilachian Art Project, the program will feature Victoria Casey McDonald, Reggie Rogers, and Dr. Ernest Johnson discussing the themes introduced in the WCU student-created exhibit, "Journeys of Courage: Integrating Education in Jackson County," which is on view at the Jackson County Public Library. WCU public history students will be on hand before the discussion to give informal tours of their exhibits,

“Journeys of Courage” is part of the larger “Journey Stories” project, which includes a Smithsonian exhibit on view at the Mountain Heritage Center through Nov. 9, as well as local journey stories displays at the Jackson County Public Library and a series of free programs and events in both locations.

Program panelist Victoria Casey McDonald is a historian, author, educator, artist and ordained minister. She grew up in Cullowhee and attended segregated schools, before attending WCU and beginning a teaching career in Jackson County that included both segregated and integrated schools. She is the author of “A Pictorial History: The African Americans of Jackson County” and “Just Over the Hill,” a collection of short stories about African Americans in Jackson County in the 19th century.

Reginald Rogers, assistant director of WCU’s Office of Research Administration, grew up in Jackson County and attended segregated schools through the third grade, then transferred to WCU’s Lab School. He will speak about his educational experiences in Jackson County, as well as his recollections of football star Tommy Love, who helped integrate Sylva-Webster High and whose story is highlighted in the “Journeys” exhibit.

Dr. Ernest Johnson is a psychologist with a focus on health and human performance. He is currently a faculty member of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT), where his work focuses on providing educators with tools for motivating at-risk children, promoting reading, and lowering dropout rates.

This event is being held in conjunction with “Journey Stories,” which is part of Museum on Main Street and a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and the North Carolina Humanities Council. Support for Museum on Main Street has been provided by the United States Congress. The traveling “Journey Stories” exhibit is on view at WCU's Mountain Heritage Center now through Nov. 9, 2012.

“Journeys of Courage” is sponsored by the Friends of the Jackson County Public Library and the Mountain Heritage Center, Western Carolina University.

For more information, call the Jackson County Public Library at (828)586-2016.

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