Born in Jacksonville, Alabama in the 1920s, Julia Reid Hall loved learning growing up. All of her public school experience was segregated, as was the norm in the first half of the 20th century American South. Her parents taught her to ignore acts of hate and work towards an education. Reflecting later in her life, Julia described the importance of a good education as “incentives to attract worthwhile people.”
After completing high school, Julia enrolled in college and eventually received a Bachelor of Science degree from Talledega College. By 1954 she found herself living in Asheville and teaching at the segregated Stephens-Lee High School, the only public high school for African Americans in Western North Carolina.
Integration left the public schools in Asheville “in chaos for a while.” Stephens-Lee was closed and Julia was moved to the recently renamed Asheville High School on McDowell Street. After integration, Julia taught for a total of thirty years with Asheville City Schools before her retirement in the mid 1980s.
After retirement, Julia opened Tender Loving Care, a flower shop, with her friend Claudia Tucker. Community support helped their shop quickly grow, and they opted to renovate a storefront on Eagle Street in the late 1980s or early 1990s.
Outside of her professional life, Julia constantly volunteered in her community. “Volunteers are needed always in the community,” Julia worked with the Asheville Police Department, served on the board of the Y. M. I. Cultural Center and the Self-Help Credit Union, and was “a member and past president of Western Carolina Women’s Coalition, the American Business Women’s Association and the North Carolina Association of Educators Retired.” She was also a trustee of the Hopkins Chapel A. M. E. Zion Church.
Julia married David Kingsley Hall, a dentist, and had two children. Taking after her parents, Julia and Davis raised their children “with the basic principles of honesty, respect and good moral character.”
Julia Reid Hall died at age 67 in early December of 1993.
To learn more about Julia Reid Hall, and several other African America women in Asheville, look for Helen Moseley-Edington’s Angels Unaware: Asheville Women of Color. A copy is available for research at the UNC-Asheville Special Collections.
Forbes, David. “Stephens-Lee Remembered.” Mountain Xpress. February 13, 2008. Accessed April 27, 2020. https://mountainx.com/news/community-news/021308stephens/
Moseley-Edington, Helen. Angels Unaware: Asheville Women of Color. Asheville, North Carolina: Home Press, 1996.
Shirley Elaine Cannon [Signleton], The Castle On the Hill, ca. 1952, K687-8 MS147 Ruth Jackson Cannon and Shirley Cannon Singleton Collection, North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, NC.
Unknown Author, Y.M.I. (Young Men’s Institute) Building, 1988, C492-8, North Carolina Room, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, NC.