Donald R. “Donnie” Parks, Hendersonville’s First African-American Chief of Police.   Photo by Terry Ruscin   The real estate bounded by Kanuga, Barnwell and South Church Streets once hosted “Black Bottom,” a hamlet of stilt houses occupied by members of Hendersonville’s African American townspeople. The houses, 

Black-owned Businesses 1950-1970

The period from 1950 through 1965 brought change to Henderson County. The transition from the injustices of segregation to the equal rights guaranteed under the Constitution was a quiet, slow, and relatively smooth process. It did take courage to complete the process, but for the 

Black-owned Businesses 1900-1950

1900-1920 By 1910, 46 Blacks owned at least 30 acres of land with three of these farmers owning 100 acres or more: M. R. Anderson of Mills River Township (230 acres), Martin Herrin (100 acres) and Washington Shipman (100 acres) both of the Hendersonville Township. 

Black-owned Businesses 1865-1900

Farming was by far the preferred way to gain financial stability for Blacks during the antebellum period. Only eight people prior to 1900 were able to post financial gains in occupations other than farming. They were: stonemasons Jackson Shipman and Henry King; blacksmiths Samuel Williams and 

Black-owned Businesses

Henderson County’s Black middle class, through diligent efforts, made an independent living through their own enterprises and stand out for their entrepreneurial spirit and hard work. Most often Black-run businesses at the turn of the century had to make a choice of focusing their trade either 

Hendersonville’s First Black Fire Fighter

Terry Smith joined the fire department in 1985.

An Early Volunteer Fire Fighter in Bat Cave

Although he never learned to read and write, Oscar Avery was proficient in the skills CPR, first aid, and other skills he needed as a volunteer fire fighter.

Vegetables for the Tailgate Market

Alma Logan Avery sold vegetables she grew on her farm in Lake Lure at the Tailgate market.

Chauffeurs and Merry Garden Casino

Henderson County’s licensed chauffeurs included several African Americans like Fred Potts.  The Merry Garden Casino in Flat Rock attracted nationally known swing bands.

Greenbook Guest House

The Landina Guest House was one of many Black-owned businesses that served the Black community in the days of segregation.