Matthew Bacoate, Jr. Named
One of Asheville Living Treasures
MHO Executive Director Scott Dedman and MHO Board Member Matthew Bacoate
Matthew Bacoate, Jr., has had a long history of leadership and service to Asheville. He was the founder, manager, and eventual business owner of the largest African-American owned business in the history of Asheville. The company was originally founded as AFRAM Inc., then ACE (Asheville Community Enterprises), then M.B. Disposables. Matthew is also a Korean War Veteran, community activist, and a builder of economic development projects and of interracial relationships in Asheville and the State of North Carolina.
In 1970, Matthew Bacoate and AFRAM were featured in a national ABC documentary entitled "Help!-Black Economic Development and Cooperation Between Blacks and Whites in Asheville, North Carolina." This documentary examines the AFRAM Company and also includes the interracial group of business leaders called the Committee for Progress which Matthew initiated in 1968. This group worked to improve race relations and economic conditions for all citizens. In 1977, Governor Hunt appointed
Matthew to serve on the new North Carolina Economic Development Board. President Jimmy Carter and President Richard Nixon invited Mr. Bacoate to the White House where he spoke on job creation and economic development. He has also given testimony to a Congressional Committee on race relations and economics. In addition, he served on the advisory committees for Senator Robert Morgan
and Senator Terry Sanford.
Matthew Bacoate also dedicated his time to serve on the Board of Directors for the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, 1981; the YMI Cultural Center Board of Directors 1987-1992, acting as chair in 1992; founder and leader of the YMI Community Development Corp.; Board member of the Asheville Chapter of the American Red Cross; Chairman of the Victoria Health Care Center; Chair of the Black
Mountain Center Foundation; Co-founder of the Black Business and Professional League; and the Pack Place board in 1991 to name a few.
Matthew has served on numerous committees and councils such as, the U.S. Small Business Administration, 1981, NC Minority Business Commission, A-B Tech Small Business Council , City of Asheville Minority Business Commission, the Employment Security Advisory Council, the Private Industrial Council and the Daniel Boone Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Matthew Bacoate has also received recognition and numerous awards. The Asheville Area Chamber, of Commerce, the City of Winston-Salem, A-B Technical Community College, the City of Asheville, the Buncombe County Sheriff Department, the Jaycees and the Optimist clubs are some of the organizations that have recognized his contributions of service.
Matthew sought further educational opportunities by attending Medical Administration School in 1951; the University of Southern California USAFI business administration from 1953-55; Western Carolina University business administration between 1970-71; and NC State University CEU's from 1971-1975. Matthew then parented a son, Matthew Bacoate III, and raised him as a single parent during the sixties and seventies while completing further education, working sixty or more hours a week, and serving the community.
Today, Matthew Bacoate serves as a Board volunteer with Mountain Housing Opportunities and continues his partnership efforts with the Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation. He is active in the Buncombe County Democratic Party, serving as a precinct chair. He is a talking textbook of Asheville history that can provide so many details of times gone by.
For all of the time and effort that Matthew Bacoate's leadership and community service has given to improve the quality of life in Asheville, Buncombe County, the State of North Carolina and our country, today, he has not yet received the recognition from the community that he so justly deserves. This is in part due to his quiet and unassuming demeanor and his silent determination to make Asheville a better place for all residents. Mr. Bacoate has viewed life as full of opportunities, not adversities. He is an amazing man with fascinating stories that tell the tale of an African-American male who observed, listened, learned, and seized every opportunity to make a better life for himself, his family and the world around him. His journey is a true testament of success for the American Dream that so many others sought in the history and migrant journeys of blacks in America. Matthew Bacoate's life is a treasure to Asheville and Buncombe County.
Biographical Sketch by Marnie Walsh
You can also view another story in the Urban News:
A video of Mr. Bacoate at the Asheville Living Treasure's Ceremony can be viewed here: