Junaluska Heritage Association donates books to libraries

Roberta Jackson donates books on African-American genealogy research to Ross Cooper of the Watauga Public Library. Photo submitted

The Junaluska Heritage Association recently donated three books on African-American genealogy research to the Watauga County Public Library and the Belk Library at Appalachian State University.

Both libraries received copies of James Roses' "Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African American Genealogy" and "Black Genealogy" by Charles L. Blockson.

In addition, the Watauga Public Library received a copy of "Finding Your African American Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide" by David T. Thackery, and Belk Library received "Slave Genealogy: A Research Guide with Case Studies."

The association also purchased copies of the books to be included in its own collection. The association is in the process of establishing its own library in the basement of the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, said Roberta Jackson, a member of the association.

Located near downtown Boone and anchored by the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church, Junaluska is believed to have originated during the mid- to late 1800s.

Recent research conducted by ASU students suggests that Junaluska could be the oldest black community still in existence in Western North Carolina, but more work is needed to confirm this, the students said at a 2012 presentation.

A Junaluska Heritage Association research group continues to study the community's history, Jackson noted.

"We have found that since the 1880s, 90 to 100 different families have lived in our community," she said. "We're in the process of researching everything we can find about every one of those families.

"We thought we'd have this done in about a year," she said, but the process is taking much longer.

Jackson said the association eventually plans to publish a book on the community's history.

Jackson said she hopes the book donations to the Watauga and ASU libraries will encourage others to conduct similar research. The donations also served as a "thank you" to the libraries for their assistance in the association's efforts.

For more information about the Junaluska Heritage Association or to join in the group's efforts, visit www.junaluskaheritage.wordpress.com or call Jackson at (828) 773-2540.

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