Domination of Black
Domination of Black – a M:tA campaign
Out of the window,
I saw how the planets gathered
Like the leaves themselves
Turning in the wind.
I saw how the night came,
Came striding like the color of the heavy hemlocks
I felt afraid.
And I remembered the cry of the peacocks.
“Domination of Black” – Wallace Stevens
Asheville, North Carolina holds many national accolades: one of the top 25 cities for the arts, the happiest city in the US for women, number one city in America to re-invent your life, and is known among the New Age culture as “mecca.” These proud titles are emphasized only by the beauty of the city itself; each street is lined with flourishing trees, brush and wildlife infiltrate every corner, and its grimiest ghetto seems to hold a down-to-home charm.
Of course, Asheville’s beauty belies its past. Initially a hub of action for the Cherokee, Hernando de Soto brought to the locale disease and death. The first family to settle the location after the deaths of the natives, led by Colonel Samuel Miller, was nearly totally slaughtered in revenge by the remainder of the Cherokee. However, a few family members held on, and soon a small town cropped up around them. 1 Though the Civil War never came to Asheville proper, the wilderness around it was strife with guerilla attacks and, most notably, the Battle of Swannanoa Gap, which resulted in thousands of deaths of union soldiers attempting to retreat from the Confederate onslaught. In 1914, a tropical storm that left the coast mostly untouched flooded the streets of Asheville and caused — then — three million dollars in damage, and just over a decade later, yet an even bigger disaster struck: the Great Depression. Asheville was the city in the US with the most debt during that troubling time, and also became one of the top locations for suicides in the country. 2
Nowadays, Asheville’s sordid past is behind it. The city lies in beautiful splendor, an out of the way oasis for artists and those seeking a reprieve from the hectic, bustling every day life. A few minor crimes occur now and then, but are generally quickly taken care of to keep the image pristine.
1 The Miller family is still renown throughout Asheville — it is rumored they have their fingers in every pie around the city — though not every Miller necessarily is related to those that settled the city. It’s relatively easy among the locals to tell those who are — perhaps (as rumored) due to some inbreeding in the beginnings of their line or a dominant congenital defect, each member of the Miller family seems to have something wrong with them, be that a health or physical issue. The most prominent members of the family are Andrew Miller, William Miller, Rebecca Miller, and Charlotte Miller.
2 A fact lovingly touted by tour guides on the Asheville ghost tours, who will take their customers to the locales in the city most often used for suicides, including a large weeping willow, the branches of which seem to stretch tirelessly for the sky, and Battery Park Hotel, now an apartment complex, where ten known suicides have taken place — and one murder has been committed.