Junaluska

Oral Histories of a Black Appalachian Community

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About the Book

Junaluska is one of the oldest African American communities in western North Carolina and one of the few surviving today. After Emancipation, many former slaves in Watauga County became sharecroppers, were allowed to clear land and to keep a portion, or bought property outright, all in the segregated neighborhood on the hill overlooking the town of Boone, North Carolina. Land and home ownership have been crucial to the survival of this community, whose residents are closely interconnected as extended families and neighbors. Missionized by white Krimmer Mennonites in the early twentieth century, their church is one of a handful of African American Mennonite Brethren churches in the United States, and it provides one of the few avenues for leadership in the local black community.

Susan Keefe has worked closely with members of the community in editing this book, which is based on three decades of participatory research. These life history narratives adapted from interviews with residents (born between 1885 and 1993) offer a people’s history of the black experience in the southern mountains. Their stories provide a unique glimpse into the lives of African Americans in Appalachia during the 20th century—and a community determined to survive through the next.

About the Author(s)

Susan E. Keefe is emerita professor of anthropology at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She is the author/editor of four books and has published more than 40 academic articles and chapters.

The Junaluska Heritage Association was formed in 2011 and operating under the auspices of the nonprofit Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, is a community-based organization dedicated to preserving cultural heritage and assisting in community growth.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Susan E. Keefe with assistance from the Junaluska Heritage Association

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 235
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8017-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3929-1
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
A Brief Ethnography of the Junaluska Community 7

Life History Narratives

Part I. Those Born 1885–1909 38
Ebb McQueen (1885–1983) 38
Harrison “Boone” Grimes (1888–1984) 40
Gertrude Tolbert Folk (1892–1974) 46
The Rev. Ronda Horton (1895–1986) 49
Rosa Horton Odem (1902–1983) 57
Kenneth Mathes (1909–1993) 61
Jennie McQueen Horton (1909–1994) 63

Part II. Those Born 1910–1924 67
Leroy Kirkpatrick, Sr. (1910–1993) 67
Anna Tolbert Grimes (1910–1997) 72
Nell Wilson Ray (1912–2010) 75
Dora Wellington Horton (1915–2006) 82
William Whittington (1918–2003) 85
Emma Irene Folk Horton (1918–2014) 88
Sudia Grimes Mathes (1920–2009) 91
Mary Macphedis “Mackie” Folk Carr (b. 1922) 93
James McQueen, Sr. (1923–2002) 95

Part III. Those Born 1925–1939 104
Kathrine Grimes Folk (1925–2013) 104
David Horton (b. 1925) 106
Honolou “Mary” Jackson Young and John Young  (b. 1926 and 1947) 109
Hallie Bell Hatton Horton (1926–2002) 116
Peggy Horton (b. 1934) 119
Cleveland “Buster” Shearer Whittington (1936–2018) 124

Part IV. Those Born 1940–1959 133
Marcella Grimes Whittington (1941–2006) 133
Roberta Jackson (b. 1946) 136
Joseph Henry Grimes (b. 1946) 142
Betty Grimes (b. 1947) 145
Carolyn McQueen Grimes (b. 1947) 147
Sandra Hagler (b. 1948) 151
Morris Rockford Hatton, Jr. (b. 1949) 159
Gene Ray (b. 1952) 168
Carolyn Grimes (b. 1954) 175

Part V. Those Born 1960–1993 182
Jonita Lynn Clayborn (b. 1964) 182
Lynn Jackson Patterson (b. 1967) 188
Brittany Ball (b. 1986) 198
Alana Patterson (b. 1993) 204

Quilt Square Meanings 213
Index 217