Racism in Boone is alive and well. I moved to Boone in October 2017 just knowing that the serenity of being surrounded by the mountains with its quaint downtown would be the perfect place to retire. I knew before moving here that the African-American population was very low, but it never dawned on me that I would be the recipient of racial threats and harassment.

I am a 70 year-old African-American woman, and I have lived in several cities/states and this is only the second time I’ve come face to face with someone that has threatened me simply because of the color of my skin.

This happened just as I was settling into my apartment. I had only been here for six weeks before being threatened by another tenant. Since that day, I’ve lived in constant fear. My belief is that if someone is bold enough to stand within three feet of you and make the statement, “I will mess you up and see to it that you come up missing,” they are capable of doing just that and it could just be they are waiting on that opportunity.

As the old adage goes; It only takes one bad apple to spoil the entire basket. So much for serenity, I am always looking over my shoulder. Not my idea of peaceful living.

Ernestine (Tina) McKnight


(5) comments


I've lived here all my life and NEVER has there been any reference to different skin color of any kind. Most African Americans that have lived here will state the same. To the person who did this, they must not be "from around here." Life long residents don't act that way.


I can say this without reservation: You, as a black woman, will experience far less racism in 94% white Boone than I, as a white man, would experience in any 94% black area in the USA.


I'm sorry this happened to you. However, the little bit of the story that you shared doesn't really tell us anything that points to this being a racist incident. Could it be that this was only a neighbor dispute and nothing else? The word "racism" is thrown around so much that it really doesn't have any true meaning any longer. I hope that this was only a misunderstanding between neighbors and not truly a racism incident.


Ms. McKnight, as an 82 year old white man, I sincerely apologize for the ignorance and bigotry that threatened you. I pray that this is an isolated incident and you never have to experience such an indecent again in any part of our nation, especially here on Watauga County. Thank you for choosing our area with which to live and to enjoy relationships with all of our citizens. I only wish I could talk to that person and invite them to our church and let them understand that our Lord loves all of His children, each and every one of us, whether we deserve His love or not. We are to do the same and love all of our neighbors. I am so sorry and all of should be embarrassed!


if i could, i would knock on your door hug you and say “thank you for bringing being you!” dont let those blind idiots scare you. its sad to think that hate and bullying still exists in our times. but please know this, there are many of us that surround you that
not only accept you, but are delighted to see diversity! stay strong!

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