“Race in Black and White” will be a core theme for many courses, workshops and panel discussions to be held in the spring 2018 term at OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville.

The Rev. Michael Carter, an interfaith minister and anti-racism trainer whose church is in Black Mountain, will be one of the presenters.

In addition to its courses on a broad range of academic and cultural interests, OLLI’s renowned College for Seniors will present more than 20 courses relating to the special theme. The courses will be complemented by a series of freestanding discussions, films and workshops on contemporary and historical issues.

"OLLI's spring term on race is designed to invite our community into a conversation through a variety of disciplines," said Catherine Frank, OLLI's executive director who will teach a College for Seniors course on African-American autobiographies (she will also co-teach a course called "A Change is Gonna Come: The Civil Rights Movement and American Culture").

"By agreeing to focus on challenging subjects together, we hope to overcome the temptation to avoid them, and we hope that by starting these conversations we will spark positive change in the OLLI community and deeper connections within our wider community," Frank said. "We recognize that learning is richer when we see things from many different points of view."  

The spring’s College for Seniors lineup includes courses that will take the form of direct dialogue on race relations. Many others will focus on history and culture, including the early decades of African-American cinema; black writers including Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and August Wilson; African-American music, including separate courses on jazz history, blues, rock history and black opera stars; African-American art; and the struggles of black athletes.

The full catalog, including OLLI’s many other courses, is online at

Most classes and programs meet at the Reuter Center on the UNC Asheville campus. OLLI annual membership is $75; the term fee for College for Seniors spring courses is $115 for any number of available courses. Registration is Feb. 20-27, and spring term courses run March 26-May 18.

OLLI will also offer a series of free events, open to everyone:

  • Feb. 16, 2-5 p.m.: I Am a Recovering Racist with Bruce Mulkey, essayist and author.
  • March 16, 1-2:30 p.m.: Beyond Privilege workshop, with the Rev. Michael Carter, interfaith minister and anti-racism trainer. Registration is required at 828-251-6188.
  • April 6, 4:30-6 p.m.: Screening of the documentary "Rosenwald" and a discussion of Rosenwald schools.
  • May 2, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: Housing and Race in Asheville, with Andy Barnett, executive director, Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity.
  • May 4, 2-5 p.m.: Screening of "Beneath the Veneer," a documentary about opportunity, success and inequality in the U.S.
  • May 8, 9-11 a.m.: The History and Legacy of Lynching in North Carolina, part one: The Past is Not Past – with Seth Kotch, assistant professor of American studies at UNC Chapel Hill.
  • May 15, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.: The History and Legacy of Lynching in North Carolina, part two: A Game Called Salisbury – with Dwight Mullen, UNCA political science professor and Susan Barringer Wells, author of "A Game Called Salisbury: The Spinning of a Southern Tragedy and the Myths of Race." 



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