Ann Miller Woodford was born and raised in Andrews, North Carolina. She attended the one-room, one-teacher, Andrews Colored/Negro Elementary School through 8th grade. Due to segregation in Andrews, she enrolled in a girls boarding school, Allen High School in Asheville, North Carolina. There she was a member of the National Honor Society and graduated with honors in 1965. Ann graduated cum laude in 1969, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where she was a member of Mortar Board honor society. She is currently working on a Master of Arts Degree from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina and working for an AA Degree in Business from Tri-County Community College in Murphy, North Carolina. She was the first African American to work in an office and the first to teach (art) in the Cherokee County Schools. Her home church is Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Andrews where she serves as Sunday School Treasurer and Youth Director.
Ann is the Founder of One Dozen Who Care, Inc. (ODWC). The African-American, women-led 501(c)3 community development corporation (CDC) has a vision to create leadership capacity and build community unity in far western North Carolina through training, supporting community, collaborating with other community groups, and organizing economic development, social, cultural and educational activities. For 12 years, Ann was Executive Director of ODWC, the first of its kind in far western North Carolina. She is also the Founder of Chautauqua AVE! (Andrews Valley Experience!), a festival held each spring and fall in Andrews that features local and national speakers. Before founding ODWC, while serving as Executive Director at the Andrews Chamber of Commerce, Ann was honored with the Rural Leader of the Year Award from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center in Raleigh. In 2008, she received the honor of the Z. Smith Reynolds Sabbatical and the coveted ODWC Emma Cline Moore Award for Community Service.
She is a professional fine artist who has traveled extensively. As an artist/designer, she has created works of art and crafts that have been marketed locally, nationally, and internationally. In the 1980s she partnered with the actress, Esther Rolle who played "Florida Evans" on the TV series "Good Times. Their company, E & A Global Enterprises in Los Angeles, California marketed Ann’s artworks, Annie and Charlie Ragg® dolls and African American Heritage playing cards.
Ann credits her high school English teacher, Betty Sue Smith with her writing ability. This book comes from her desire to record the lives of the African American people who labored under very difficult conditions to make it possible for her and so many more to have enjoyed all the unique and exciting experiences of life.
This blog is intended to help Ann gather more information about the very special people who blazed a trail for those who followed them as they founded churches and built communities in far western North Carolina.