Social Justice

My Story: Matthew Bacoate, Jr. as told by Becky Stone

Integrating the first privately owned commercial facility in Asheville, North Carolina

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Matthew Bacoate's parents, an entrepreneur and a teacher, were from South Carolina, but they moved to Asheville, North Caorlina in 1927 - three years before their son was born. Matthew, Jr. attended Allen Home Elementary School and Stephens-Lee High School. In 1944 the family moved to Baltimore and then to Kent, Ohio, where Matthew Sr. took a job with Firestone Tire. Matthew Jr. graduated from high school in Ohio, spent six years in the U.S. Army, and returned to Asheville, where he became the General Manager of AFRAM. According to The Urban News, AFRAM was "a manufacturer of disposable protective clothing" and "the largest black-owned business in the history of Asheville."

Image courtesy of
The Urban News

Click on the video below to hear storyteller Becky Stone recount how Matthew Bacoate, Jr. successfully integrated Star Lanes Bowling Center in 1960, which then became the first privately owned integrated public accommodations in Asheville and Buncombe County, North Carolina. At the beginning of the video, Wilma Dykeman Legacy President Jim Stokely introduces Becky Stone. If you want to go right to the story, click on the time bar at 3:24.