It is a testament to the depth of community love when neighbors still want to gather after years living in different places. This kind of love was demonstrated on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at the Black Montford & Stumptown Family Reunion. Held at the Tempie Avery Montford Center, over 100 people were in attendance. Present were current and former residents of Stumptown, Montford, Hill Street, Hillcrest, and Klondyke.

We gathered to remember and dream. It was a joyous day, with delicious food and nostalgic music. There were all ages in attendance, an affirmation that our story is not only one of the past, but also of future generations. While not part of dominant neighborhood narratives, our large presence was a reminder of the fact that all of Montford (census tracts 2 and 3 – see map at the bottom of the page) was majority Black from the late 1960s through the early 2000s. 

Speakers included Dr. Darin Waters, Deputy Secretary, Office of Archives and History of the State of North Carolina. He affirmed the importance of gatherings such as this to help bring invisibilized histories like ours to light, and offered the ongoing support of his office. 

Thomas Priester and Kimberly Jones, the Stumptown representatives on the Asheville Buncombe Community Reparations Commission shared updates on the reparations process. 

In addition to the proposals named by the focus area working groups, Stumptown’s requests, which have been presented to the commission, include:
1.) to be recognized for the harm our community experienced; 2.) for signage to be installed in Stumptown; 3.) that the city-owned properties on Jersey and Morrow Streets be included in the Stop the Harm audit; 4.) for Stumptown legacy community members to be able decide what happens with those properties. 

Attendees learned more about the Montford & Stumptown Fund, a fund of the Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust designed to protect and create permanently affordable housing for Black residents. It is one strategy for repairing the harm caused by displacement due to urban renewal and gentrification. 

STM Multimedia had their youth documentary team document the event and record video interviews. Buncombe County Special Collections was set up to scan photos, and photographer Benjamin Porter took a panoramic photo similar to one from the 1997 Stumptown reunion (we will be adding a copy of the image to this page soon). 

Thank you to the Buncombe County Communications and Public Engagement (CAPE) Department and Garnet Prose + Projects for helping to organize the event, Asheville Parks and Recreation for their collaboration, and to the Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County and Montford Neighborhood Association for their donations. 

Here are some photos and short video recap of the reunion, by STM Multimedia. Stay tuned for more “Montford & Stumptown Stories” videos in 2024: