Valley Rewind: Black History Month spotlight — Lizzie Wells

Special to Black Mountain News
Joined by her husband Walter in this 1920s era photograph, Black Mountain resident Lizzie Wells smiles for the camera at the In-the-Oaks Estate of Black Mountain.

The Swannanoa Valley Museum and History Center is celebrating Black History Month with historic photographs of African American culture and communities in the Swannanoa Valley. In this ca. 1920s - 1930s photograph from the museum's collections, Black Mountain resident Lizzie Wells and her husband Walter smile for the camera at the In-the-Oaks Estate of Black Mountain. Active in her community, Wells attended the Mills Chapel Baptist Church and worked at In-the-Oaks for more than 30 years. In 1935, she organized a bus to take Black students from Black Mountain Colored School to Stephens-Lee High School in Asheville, the only secondary school for African Americans in Western North Carolina. The bus cost $800. The state provided $600 and Buncombe Country contributed $50. Contributions from the local community furnished the remaining funds. In 1948, Stephens-Lee High School presented a certificate to Wells, stating that she had been elected as the “mother of Black Mountain, NC” at the high school’s county fair.