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Newspaper Archive of
The Sylva Herald and Rualite
Sylva , North Carolina
March 29, 2012     The Sylva Herald and Rualite
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March 29, 2012
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THeE SYLVA March 29, 2012 Casey-McDonald pens book on county's African-Americans By Maggie Tobias Registry at the Jackson "We were justtacked on. something for their com- Victoria Casey-McDonald of Sylva will read from "Just Over the Hill" at City Lights Friday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m. T he history of local African-Ameri- cans is one of the most neglected aspects of Ja0kson County's past, which is why Sylva writer Victoria Casey-McDonald tackled it in her new book. "I want people to know that we as African-Ameri- cans are really Appala- chians as much as the whites are Appalachians," she said.. Casey-McDonald will read from her book "Just Over the Hill" on Friday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore. Casey-McDonald, 69, grew up in Jackson County and said this book is largely the history of herself and her relatives. None of their history was recorded, she said, and her relatives never told her much of it. In order to write the book, she had to dig through archives and old newspaper articles to trace the history of African- Americans in Appalachia. While looking through archives of the Civil War County Historical Society, Casey-McDonald said she was shocked to find the black soldiers lumped at the end of the list instead of in alphabetical order with the other names. That's what it's all about. I'm tired of being tacked on and put at the end," she said. "The people that I wrote about, I tried to show that they were a part of their community and they did Victoria Casey-McDonald of Sylva is the author of a new local history book, "Just Over the Hill," that focuses on the fives of African-Americans in Jackson County. She will read from the book Friday, March 30, at 6:30 p.m. at City Lights Bookstore. munity." For years, African- Americans have had a hand in every aspect of Jackson County life and represented every profession, Casey- McDonald said. "That's what I want peo- ple to understand - that these people were people who had skills," she said. The book begins with a poetic, semi-fictional account of her great-great- grandmother coming to North Carolina from the West coast of Africa. "I was told she was about 8 years old," Casey-Mc- Donald said. Casey-McDonald starts with the story of where her relatives came from to clear up confusion around the origins of blacks in Jackson County and to set the record straight that they weren't all descended from convicts. Casey-McDonald ex- plains the confusion her grandmother must have felt, being separated from Please see Book, 6C 00Appalachian amht,rs Garza, Woodall to read at City Lights By Maggie Tobias Excerpts from the books I being isolated as children hree Appalachian women will sign books and cel- ebrate their .shared love of literature at an event set for 2 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at City Lights Bookstore Amy Garza of Sylva will have her newest book ,, g" ,, ". which features art- Garza work from her sis- ter, Doreyl Cain of Tuckas- egee, and Barbara Woodall of Dillard, Ga., will discuss her memoir "It,s Not My Mountain Anymore." The three women will talk about how they conceived their work, and how they are connected through common themes of Appalachian life and landscape. will be read, and there will be time for discussion. "Said the Leaf," featured last fall in The Herald, is Garza's seventh book and is published by Catch the Spirit of Ap- palachia, the publish- ing company founded by Garza and her sister.  ....... The idea for the book came to Garza 60 years ago in 1951. Images of mountain landscapes and colorful fall leaves had such a profound effect on her as a child that she turned the experience into a poem years later, and finally into a book. "I suppose my love for the mountains came from my sister and brother and Woodail in a little mountain cove in Tuckasegee," Garza said. "The whole world was surrounded by beautiful seasons. The leaves of the trees would bud in spring, grow lush in summer, turn dramatic in a color- filled autumn, and die in winter leav- ing a brown carpet on which to slide d6wia ifie "hioun- tain with wind in your hair." Garza writes her ideas of what a leaf going through seasonal transformations would say. "With my sister illus- trating the book, it is a perfect example of the his- tory of our partnership in storytelling for the past 25 Please see Authors, 6C Amy Garza of Sylva will read from her book "Said the Leaf" at City Lights Book- store on Saturday, March 31, at 2 p.m. The poetry in the book was inspired by her Tuckasegee childhood and the mountains' fall foliage. The colorful watercolor illustrations are by her sister, Doreyl Cain of Tuckasegee. SMHS Show moky Mountain High School's Show Choir left Sylva at 6 a.m. Wednesday on their way to per- form with hundreds of other high school students in Festival Disney at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Their performance is scheduled for Smoky Mountain High School's 56-member Show Choir - including, from left, Heath Morgan, Mandi Dean, Alyssa Mitchell, Caleb Parham, Brett Wilde, Devan Youmans and Erik Myers - left Wednesday to compete at Festival Disney hoir to compete today at Festival Disney Heller, keyboard, along with students Brett Wilde, electric guitar, Chris Benavides, electric bass, and Logan Gentry, drum set. Charae Melton is the group's choreog- rapher. SMHS students will perform before a at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The ensemble, directed by SMHS Choral Director Linda Haggard, will perform a 20- minute song-and-dance routine for a panel of judges today (Thursday). - Herald photo by Nick Breedlove today (Thursday) at 2:30 p.m. The 56- member ensemble, which is Choral Direc- tor Linda Haggard's largest to date, will perform the 20-minute song-and-dance routine they have been rehearsing for three months. Accompanying the group will be Bryan three-judge panel ofnatiohally recognized music educators, each of whom will have original copies of the music with all the choir's markings. Judges will follow the music closely to make sure the students are singing what's written, Haggard said. The Show Choir set is made up of chart- topping hits that span almost six decades. They start off with the 1971 No. 1 hit by Three Dog Night, "Joy to the World," fol- lowed by a small section of Queen's No. 1 "Bohemian Rhapsody," which flows into Coldplay's chart-topper "Viva la Vida" (sung a cappella - no accompaniment - with nine different vocal parts). "Viva" is followed by Alicia Keys and Glee's ar- rangement of the No. 1 hit "Empire State of Mind." Next comes Michael Buble's smash '"Sway," which features salsa dane- ing and some singing in Spanish. "Sway" is followed by Michael Jackson's No. 1, "Man in the Mirror," which is followed by Adele's hit, "Someone Like You." The Beatles classic "Here Comes the Sun" (also a cappella) is next, and the set ends with Fleetwood Mac's No. 1, "Don't Stop." Students assist Haggard in deciding what music goes into the show, and a lot of time is spent singing through potential set pieces, she said. Once the songs are selected, the "real work" begins, she said. This year's show choir performing group is split between two class periods, with first period made up of freshmen and sophomores, and second period including juniors and seniors as well as the student Please see Choir, 6C