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SVM Book Club: A Conversation with Mary Othella Burnette, author of Lige of the Black Walnut Tree (online)

March 8, 2021 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm


This SVM Book Club event will feature a conversation with Mary Othella Burnette, author of Lige of the Black Walnut Tree: Growing Up Black in Southern Appalachia. Read a New York Times article about Ms. Burnette’s book here. In this conversation, Ms. Burnette will talk about her memories of growing up in Black Mountain and answer questions from attendees about her book.

An official book club discussion of the Lige of the Black Walnut Tree will take place two days later on Wednesday, March 10th from 6:30pm-7:30pm. This even is free and open to the public. RSVP here.


From the publisher: “Mary Othella Burnette, an 89 year old African American woman, was born and reared in Black Mountain, North Carolina. While much has been documented about White communities in Southern Appalachia, little has been written by a native mountaineer about African Americans living in that area. All of Ms. Burnette’s stories are rare, and most of them contain vibrant and emotional depictions of characters she grew up with and around from early childhood through the mid-1940s, a time when the sun was setting on the lives of the few surviving family members of freed slaves and their community-minded heirs who settled in the Swannanoa Valley after 1865. As these original stories display the social and cultural norms of a fading era, they also reveal how residents of those times faced oppression with a steadfast belief in America and held on to their unwavering hope for better days. Thus this thoughtful work becomes an open window into African American history. Ms. Burnette’s love for Black Mountain, combined with her loyalty to Valley residents and other characters she adoringly describes, brings these beautifully written, historically and culturally significant stories to life.”

This event is free, but an RSVP is required in order to receive the Zoom link. Registration ends half an hour before the start of the event.  RSVP below.





March 8, 2021
11:30 am - 12:30 pm


Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center