Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 1.19.29 PMTim Smith, a popular social media personality in Asheville, has issued a call urging African-Americans to check out downtown Asheville on Friday starting at 5 p.m. This isn’t the first time Smith has shown concern about the state of race relations in Asheville. Two years ago, I wrote about Smith’s “Drinks and Dialogue” events, meetings over drinks at which blacks and whites talked about all kinds of topics.

Here’s the Date My City FB event:

Date My City is an initiative to encourage cultural diversity in downtown Asheville. Our city is evolving very rapidly before us and the African American presence will be appreciated! Just imagine the impression it’ll make if brothers and sisters of color come out in numbers, with purpose and unity.

Join the movement! DMC is an extension of the New Asheville movement. It is the avenue that will aide us in rediscovering beauty and potential of Asheville. Today, the hustle and bustle in the heart of our city resembles that of notable cities around the nation. The pulse of the metropolis is beating hard in our “hometown” but we aren’t partaking in the liveliness and progressiveness of her….until now. Here’s how DMC works:

If you are a person of influence, a promoter, public figure, leader of a civic organization or church group, on Friday June 21, use you influence to gather as many of your friends/followers and invite them to a night on the town. You and your friends will get more acquainted with downtown Asheville’s eateries, music, arts and diverse culture.

Goal: to rediscover the New Asheville

Friday June 21st Itinerary:

5:00p-6:00p **THE SOUTHERN, 41 N. Lexington Ave. (Dinner)

6:05p-6:20p **DOWNTOWN AFTER 5, Lexington Ave Sound Stage (Live Music and Entertainment)

6:30p-7:15p **DRUM CIRCLE, Pritchard Park

7:30p-8:15p **BIER GARDEN, (Drinks, and Appetizers) 46 Haywood St. (Downtown Asheville)

8:15p-8:30p **Load LAZOOM PARTY BUS, 92 Patton Ave, (Load Bus) For tickets and info call 828-225-6932 or visit

8:30p-9:30p **LAZOOM PARTY BUS/HAUNTED COMDEY TOUR (B.Y.O.B., 21 and Up, ID needed) for tickets and info call 828-225-6932 or visit


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  2. Jan Schochet says:

    Oops. Pushed enter too soon.

    So what I was saying above was, your other groups, JML, did have a long, well-known and vibrant presence downtown. The African-American presence was less so, and was off in its own corner around Eagle St. Let’s welcome and invite all everywhere downtown.

  3. Jan Schochet says:

    JML, you’d do well to learn a little bit of local history before you comment. (thank you Ami Worthen for bringing this up). Historically downtown about 1/3 of the businesses were owned by Jewish business owners between 1890 and around 1980. (see our project, “The Family Store” in the UNCA library online, click on special collections, click on manuscripts and search). There were few Chinese residents in Asheville during the post WWII era, but the main one (maybe the only one) was the Lee family who owned The Paradise, the only Chinese restaurant in town.

    There was a lot of activity along Eagle St. But with Urban Renewal (Urban Destruction?) in the 60s and the AVL mall opening of 1973, Eagle St. all but died. So, few Af-Am business owners and a lack of a solid black community and presence downtown any more does make it more scattered and less welcoming for that population.

    Look around. This isn’t Durham,NC, with a 50+ % black population. Asheville’s black population is lower than 15% in the city, far less in the county. Would you frequent places where you’re outnumbered 8 to 1 very often? I doubt it.

    I welcome Tim and his efforts! I hope you’re successful, Tim.

  4. Given the fact that Asheville was run by the Klan into the 1930s and government’s gone out of its way to demolish black neighborhoods, I think any welcoming gesture toward the people of color who helped build this town is a good thing.

  5. this is a culturally mixed area with Very Little racial tension. Very Little…I find this post and comments hilarious. What about making Chinese people feel more comfortable downtown? Or Jews? what about writing an article to people in general who feel strange going downtown? Such as the overweight white guy who’s in our maintenance department, who got attacked downtown years ago when it was unsafe, and hasn’t been back since

    • Very little racial tension, huh? Easy for the white guy to say. When you have a group of people who have been historically socially and economically excluded from the city center (see the history of the Block etc) it makes perfect sense to create ways to correct that injustice.

  6. Ami Worthen says:

    I think this is wonderful!

    D. Sham, no one is actively keeping African Americans away from Downtown, but this is the only event I know of that is actively welcoming them.

    If you learn about the history of race relations in Asheville, you will learn that there are many reasons why Blacks have felt unwelcome/unsupported by the White community. It’s a deep-seated dynamic that is not going to change without action.

    I commend Timmy and his co-organizer Sheneika for creating a fun opportunity for people to explore a city that has not embraced them in the past.

  7. Maybe they are new to the area, maybe they are not familiar with the area, maybe they needed this nudge to feel welcomed downtown, maybe it’s folks like you commenting that’s making them feel un welcomed, maybe you should join us and invite some of your AA friends. No one is pulling teeth, it’s a simple invite. FYI, everyone is welcomed, even YOU! D.Sahm

    Thank You Jason, for posting. We are reuniting and reintroducing Asheville to longtime and new locals. Much appreciation, thanks for helping me spread the vision. New Asheville….

    • What about my comment would make anyone feel “un welcomed”?

      I am interested in the reasons why you think people of one particular skin color are not fond of visiting downtown.
      My impression is that African-Americans are a wildy varied demographic made up of individuals who happen to share the same skin tone. Downtown Asheville just might not appeal to some of them. I seem to see a reasonable proportion of African-Americans downtown on any given day or night. I guess what I am trying to say is that I just don’t see the need in a gathering like this.
      I’m just not crazy about any group coming together solely based on skin color.

  8. It’s not required. It’s coordinated by someone who feels strongly about bringing people together. Props.

  9. Why should it be forced? Nobody is actively keeping African-Americans away. If downtown doesn’t appeal to them, then so be it.

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