Clio Logo

This historical marker is part of the Asheville Urban Trail and includes both a historical marker and bronze wall sculpture. The wall sculpture depicts Eagle Street, the original name for the roadway upon which the marker is placed, as the local hub of African-American cultural and social/economic endeavors. The marker and the sculpture make reference to the YMI Cultural Center, one of the oldest African-American formal institutions, and the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist church, a historically significant local African-American religious community. The marker and the associated sculpture were placed in their current location by the Black Business and Professional League of Asheville, North Carolina, in 1996.


  • "The Block" marker Credit Michael C. Wilcox, September 4, 2016
  • "The Block" marker plaque Credit Michael C. Wilcox, September 4, 2016
  • "The Block" marker sculpture Credit Michael C. Wilcox, September 4, 2016

This marker and sculpture reference two organizations: YMI Cultural Center and Mt. Zion Baptist Church (Wilcox, 2016). These organizations, both secular and spiritual, stand as pillars in the local community. The YMI Cultural Center, originally conceived as the Young Men's Institute in 1892, has long held prominence in the local and regional communities as a cultural, economic, religious, and social hub for African-Americans. Initially developed as a community center, social gathering location, and humanitarian outreach program by local leaders, Isaac Dickinson, and Dr. Stephens, and funded by philanthropist George Vanderbilt, the YMI was built and operated by several hundred African-American craftsmen who had been working to construct and furnish/decorate the Biltmore Estate.

Currently, the YMI Cultural Center is home to multiple exhibits featuring: African-American tribal masks, drawings of African-American artist Charles W. White, and multiple local/regional historical displays. The organization has also broadened its scope to include a more multicultural and multiethnic spectrum of events 

Mt. Zion is a religious institution founded in 1880 with their formal gathering hall built in "the heart of the black commercial district" in 1919. The church has funded, under new pastorship, a large non-profit organization intent on revitalizing "The Block" as a place of cultural, spiritual, and industrial/economic growth both for and about local African Americans. The inclusion thereof in "The Block" sculpture is in respect and veneration not only of the financial contribution the church has made towards revitalizing "The Block" area of town but also for the importance of the congregation and its long history in the community.

About. YMI Cultural Center. 2018. Accessed October 01, 2018.
http://www.ymiculturalcenter.org/about/about/.

Dickinson-Stephens Leadership Institute. YMI Cultural Center. 2018. Accessed October 01, 2018. 
http://www.ymiculturalcenter.org/about/dickson-stephens-leadership-institute/

History. Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Asheville. 2018. Accessed October 01, 2018. https://www.mtzionasheville.org/history. 

History of the YMI. YMI Cultural Center. 2018. Accessed October 01, 2018. http://www.ymiculturalcenter.org/about/history/.

Mt. Zion Baptist Church. National Park Service. 2018. Accessed October 01, 2018.
https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/asheville/mtz.htm

Wilcox, Michael C. "The Block". The Historical Marker Database. 2016. Accessed October 01, 2018. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=98367.