The Heritage of Black Highlanders Collection was created in 1977 at the Southern Highlands Research Center at the University of North Carolina Asheville. The Southern Highlands Research Center was founded at UNCA in 1977 with the express mission of collecting materials related to “urban Asheville,” including materials from the African American community in Asheville and the surrounding mountain counties. The Southern Highlands Research Center was renamed as Special Collections at UNCA in 1992.
The Heritage of Black Highlanders Collections was created in collaboration with a group of retired African American Asheville-area educators led by Lucy Herring. This group, the Committee on History of Black Highlanders, gathered photographs, documents, and other materials from Asheville’s African American Community and donated them to UNC Asheville. The collection contains 216 photographs that form the Heritage of Black Highlanders Photograph Collection on Digital NC. The originals are held in Special Collections at UNC Asheville.