BORN AND RAISED IN ASHEVILLE
Dee Williams, native born and bred, know the history of Asheville, the history of Black Asheville, and the history of Black America. Her grandmother’s grandmother was a slave in New Orleans. Like Beyonce, Dee Williams is Creole – that is, a mix of French, Spanish, African and Native American cultures. A century ago, her family moved from New Orleans to Asheville. When Dee was nine, she and her brother became orphans when their parents died. They were raised in Asheville by their grandmother, a full-blooded Creek.
OUR NINA SIMONE
At first, Dee attended The Allen School, an all-black high school in North Asheville, run by the United Methodist Church. It was a private school where diplomats and other wealthy African Americans, nationwide, sent their daughters. Nina Simone graduated from The Allen School.
ASHEVILLE HIGH, CLASS OF 1971
Dee was the first African-American valedictorian to graduate from Asheville High. That was no mean feat in a graduating senior class of 876 students. The day after graduaduation, she got on a Greyhound bus and rode down the mountain to persuade the admissions officers at Winston-Salem State University (HBCU) to not only admit her, but give her a full scholarship. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in public administration and a B.S. accounting and business administration.
ASHEVILLE NEIGHBORHOODS SHE HAS LIVED IN
East End – born there, lived there until urban removal to create Charlotte Street.
West End – lived on Hill Street until urban removal to create the expressway.
North Asheville – moved to Cornelia Street, off Hillside. (Claxton School)
Kenilworth – She is a long-time resident of Kenilworth.
First black business to obtain a contract with the City, 1980s
First black business to obtain an SBA loan in WNC, 1980s
•Night clubs: In the 1980s and early 1990s, owned three –
One in Brevard, one at 85 Patton Ave., and one on The Block (Eagle St.)
•YMI: 3 years
•Buncombe County: Child development, 5 years
•Eastern Band of the Cherokee: 1988-96 Business development officer, loan packages, federal contracts
•Construction business: 1996-2007 Had contracts with Asheville DOT and NC-DOT, building streets.
•Consultant / Job Training: Today, works with Minority Business Owners & Contractors to become business certified for federal DOT projects through the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification Program.
LEED-certified; trained and experienced in green infrastructure.
Launched the “Ban the Box” movement in Asheville.
This successful movement persuaded City Council, Buncombe County, and Mission Hospital to remove the “Felon” box on job applications.
Mission Hospital, the city’s biggest employer, employs 10,000 people.
For 20 years, she has been training people to become minority contractors.
Working with Economic & Racial Justice Committee.
Working on traffic data to count traffic stops of people of color.
Both reports will be data-driven.
KNOWS HOW CITY GOVERNMENT WORKS
•Has worked with many of the City’s commissions and committees.
•Appointed to Asheville/Buncombe County Minority and Women’s Business Commission; Asheville Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
•When the political editor of the Asheville Citizen-Times wants information on African American businesses and the hiring of black contractors, he interviews Dee Williams.
Independent: WNC Green Party
Find out more at Facebook.com/dee4avl
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steven heflin endorsed
“I attended a forum at west asheville library and was very impressed with dee's compassion. I would very much like to hear more and to share ideas with her. Thank you.”
March 6, 2017