African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference
UNC Asheville's African Americans in WNC and Southern Appalachia Conference began in 2014, under the leadership of Dr. Waters. The multi-day conference offers scholars and the community an opportunity to meet and discuss issues related to the African American experience in the region. The focus is original scholarship that sheds new light on African Americans in Southern Appalachia. Asheville has a long history as a regional center for African Americans - its vibrant culture and diverse communities serves as a model for the conference, which addresses issues of both past and current significance.
Slave Deeds of Buncombe County
Thanks to a partnership between the Register of Deeds office and the Center for Diversity Education at UNC Asheville, in 2013 Buncombe County became the first county in the country to digitize its original slave records. In Forever Free, a documentary about the project, Dr. Waters says this effort shows "that another group of people existed — and contributed to the building of this state, this county, this city....It was the government that allowed slavery to exist from the very beginning, and so I think it’s important for government agencies to be in the forefront of acknowledging the past, which was essentially a crime against humanity.”
Beneath the veneer documentary
The title for this documentary was inspired by Dr. Waters' dissertation research, “Life Beneath the Veneer: The Black Community in Asheville, North Carolina from 1793 to 1900." Beneath the Veneer follows the lives of a cohort of young black men growing up in Asheville. Age 12 to 19, the boys all participate in an enrichment program entitled My Daddy Taught Me That. Founded by Keynon Lake, son of former Globetrotter Bennie Lake, the goal of MDTMT is to equip disadvantaged young men with the tools of success through mentoring and life changing events. Waters serves on the advisory team for this film, and is on the Board of Directors for MDTMT.