APPLY TO SERVE ON THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Committee members will advise on trail’s themes, featured content and other
aspects of the project throughout its development
(ASHEVILLE, N.C. November 11, 2021) – Plans for an African American heritage walking trail
continue to move forward, and organizers are seeking local residents to serve on an advisory
committee for the project.
Asheville’s African American Heritage Trail will connect historic Black communities in and
around downtown Asheville, presenting sites and stories ranging from well-known landmarks
visible in the community today to the unsung heroes and underrecognized achievements and
contributions by the Black community in the past.
The trail’s advisory committee will provide insight and recommendations on the direction of the
project throughout the development process including trail themes, route, design and featured
content. Committee members will also serve as connectors, promoting awareness of the project
and advising on ways in which to activate the project within the community once it is complete.
The committee will consist of up to 12 Buncombe County residents representing varying age
demographics and lived experiences. Apply at AshevilleCVB.com/AAHT Nov. 15—Dec. 10.
Selections will be announced by Dec. 20 with the first advisory committee meeting held in early
Aisha Adams of Equity Over Everything is serving as lead consultant on the process of creating
the committee and facilitating meetings, which will take place approximately quarterly
throughout 2022 at the Explore Asheville offices. Applications that represent connection to the
Black community in Buncombe County through one or more of the following criteria will be
Current or past residents of historically Black neighborhoods and communities
Connected to Black/African American youth, arts, and education (kindergarten through
Involvement in local historical preservation projects
Membership with a local Black faith community
Have direct, lived experiences related to local Black history or have related insight
through research, projects or family
Experience with social justice issues and community activism
Black business leaders and/or tourism professionals
Initiated by local African American community development organization River Front
Development Group, the African American Heritage Trail is funded by the Buncombe County
Tourism Development Authority’s Tourism Product Development Fund grant program using
occupancy tax revenue collected from overnight visitors. Trail markers will be installed and
maintained in perpetuity by the Buncombe County TDA.
While the trail is funded by the tourism authority, community engagement continues to be critical
for its success and authenticity, according to Vic Isley, president and CEO of Explore Asheville,
which is producing the project and with River Front Development has facilitated a series of
presentations, listening sessions and surveys since 2019 to involve local residents and foster
“This project presents a unique opportunity to collaborate on a community-driven process to
identify important stories that reflect the broader community and share them with a larger
audience, thus helping preserve local heritage,” said Isley.
“We are glad to be moving forward with this much-needed project that celebrates and shares
the legacy and contributions of African Americans in our community,” said River Front
Development Group Executive Director Catherine Mitchell. “We welcome the public's continued
involvement through the advisory committee to preserve and protect Asheville’s African
American history and culture.”
“The African American Heritage Trail is a step in the right direction towards inclusive
storytelling,” said Adams. “We are proud to partner with River Front Development and Explore
Asheville to help uplift the often overlooked and under-told stories of Blacks in Asheville."
The project was approved for support by the Buncombe County TDA in the Tourism Product
Development Fund 2018 grant cycle. Plans for design and construction, originally slated for
2020 and into 2021, were paused due to the pandemic. For more information, visit