Here are some sources of information about the South Asheville Cemetery and African American history in western North Carolina.
This website includes links to a map of gravesites in the cemetery that the Warren Wilson College archeology crew generated at the end of the twentieth century by probing the ground and carefully recording the locations of 1,961 bodies in the cemetery. More recently, the archeology crew collaborated with Warren Wilson College's global information system (GIS) crew and Linden Blaisus, a recent WWC graduate, to create a .KML file that allows people to see the grave soundings on Google Earth, while the map also fuses information about what--if any--gravestones marked the site at the time of the initial mapping. View a .PDF of the gravesite soundings via this link. If you have an updated Google Earth plug in and are running Google Chrome as your browser, then you can easily view the interactive GIS map via this website. If you are interested in downloading the .KML file (which will automatically open in Google Earth if you have downloaded Google Earth onto your computer), then you can do so via this link.
The UNC Asheville Special Collections library includes an oral history collection on the cemetery. In addition, it includes other valuable resources about African American history such as the Heritage of Black Highlanders Collection, while the library also maintains a general bibliography about African American history in western North Carolina.
The Buncombe County Office of the Register of Deeds includes deeds for slaves, and Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger has been working with many people--most notably Deborah Miles (UNCA)--to promote awareness about these documents and the legacies of slavery in Buncombe County. For information on that project see the short film Forever Free.
The North Carolina Collection in the Pack Memorial Library is an excellent resource for anyone seeking to learn more about regional history. There is more to be discovered in this library research room. Get out there and make a discovery!
As part of a course at UNC Asheville taught by Dr. Ellen Pearson, Catherine Amos and Katherine Calhoun created "Sarah Gudger's Journey to Freedom," an interactive story map honoring the memory of Sarah Gudger, an ex-slave from the Swannanoa Valley who lived for many years on Dalton Avenue—just down the street from the South Asheville Cemetery. This site incorporates the timeline, images, and documents about Ms. Gudger's life, and it is built around an interview with Ms. Gudger that is in the Library of Congress, one of many slave narratives collected by the Federal Writers’ Project that are all accessible as part of the collection titled “Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938.”
Brian Palmer's "For the Forgotten African-American Dead" appeared in the New York Times in early 2017, and it explored the complexities surrounding restoration efforts such as the one taking place at the South Asheville Cemetery. Palmer described the South Asheville Cemetery project as an exceptional "success story" in its ability to network congregants, community members, and local schools.
In the fall of 2016, Aaron Adelson produced "Uncovering Asheville's Buried Past," a news story for the western North Carolina television station WLOS that featured interviews with volunteers from Warren Wilson College as well as congregants from St. John "A" Baptist Church, including George Gibson.
Jake Frankel wrote "Bones and Stones," an outstanding review of volunteer efforts to improve the cemetery at the time of St. John "A" Baptist's centennial celebration in the fall of 2014. Frankel is a staff writer for Asheville's The Mountain Xpress.
The Asheville Citizen-Times ran a story about the cemetery on September 4, 1985, but it is not available online. Here is a link to a recent bit of coverage they did about the Warren Wilson College horse crew dragging downed trees out of the cemetery.