Our Mission

We are a team of historians, archivists, and information managers dedicated to uncovering a side of American history that is not told. Utilizing archival practices and digital curation techniques, we aim to transform historical documents into accessible digital records and display their content in new, innovative ways.


By the time of Urban Renewal, Southside was the city’s premier black business district surrounded by a large residential neighborhood. At over 400 Acres, the Urban Renewal Project here was the largest in the Southeastern United States. The scale of Devastation here was unmatched.

One perspective on this transformation sees families uprooted, relocated and scattered; a community destroyed, a vibrant entrepreneurial Business World shut down; and history fragmented, altered and lost. A very different perspective sees economic benefits for the whole city and better living conditions for the neighborhood residents.

Asheville’s formal history was being made while Asheville’s african american history was lost – in the name of progress. In 2008, for the first time an effort was made to collect this history  through discussions and interviews by the YMI and the “Twilight of a Neighborhood” project.

Project Objectives:

  • Create access to historically, social significant large spatial and temporal heterogeneous datasets.
  • Examine deep ethical issues as well as technical ones about big data.
  • Develop new kinds of open source tools for better analysis of records, artifacts, maps, images, text and oral narratives.
  • Work with primary sources and index collections.
  • Co-create crowdsourced GIS data.
  • Visualize and analyze digital maps.
  • Understand urban growth policies over time.