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DNCR Western Office to host virtual program on Reconstruction in Western North Carolina

Last updated on February 7, 2022

Reconstruction remains one of the most misunderstood periods in our nation’s history. Broadly, it was about the meaning of citizenship as African American enslaved people seized their freedom and the restoration of the former Confederate states to the Union. At the local or regional level within the American South, however, these broad issues played out very differently.

Dr. Steven Nash will examine these themes during an upcoming virtual presentation “Between Slavery and the Want of Railroads: Reconstruction in Western North Carolina.” Nash will discuss how Reconstruction unfolded in western North Carolina, a region with a smaller Black population, fraught wartime loyalties among whites, and a developing economy. Nash argues that a vibrant biracial Republican Party emerged in the mountains during Reconstruction and its opponents could only overcome it by violence and a renewed push for the mountain region’s integration into the broader national economy.

This virtual program hosted by the Western Office of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources will be held on Thursday, Feb. 10 from 6:30-8 p.m. To register and attend via Zoom, click this registration link.  If you have questions, please call (828) 250-3105, email, or visit

Dr. Steven Nash is an Associate Professor of History at East Tennessee State University. He earned his master’s degree in history from Western Carolina University in 2001 and his PhD from the University of Georgia in 2009. He is the author of Reconstruction’s Ragged Edge: The Politics of Postwar Life in the Mountain South (2016), which received the Weatherford Award for Nonfiction from Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association. He also serves as president of the Mountain History and Culture Group, a non-profit support group for the Zebulon B. Vance Birthplace State Historic Site in Weaverville, North Carolina.

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