How It Started vs. How It's Going

A glimpse at two distinct periods in history, with one humbling take-away.


On March 10th, 1852, Lucy, a slave and resident of Gaston County, was sold to George J. Paysour for eleven dollars and fifty cents. While we do not know much about Lucy, we do know that she most likely spent her life as a slave, and in 1852 was nearing the end of that life. Paysour family history tells us that a church group raised money to remove Lucy from an abusive owner, giving her autonomy and a place to live. While this story has a happier ending than most, Lucy was one of millions forced into a life of servitude, and one of thousands residing right here in Gaston County.


    Fast forward almost 170 years to May 25th, 2020, as the world watched a man die at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. George Floyd was his name, and his final words could be heard around the world as protesters cried, “I can’t breathe”. On June 7th of 2020, Gaston County community leaders put together a vigil for Floyd in downtown Gastonia, and many from surrounding cities came out to pay their respects and stand in solidarity with a community ravaged by tragedy.

As you take a moment to reflect on the events represented by these artifacts, ask yourself: How did it start? And how is it going? 

How it Started vs. How it's Going: A Glance at the African American Experience through Recent Acquisitions was inspired by the 2020 Social Media Trend, “How it Started vs. How it’s Going.” This exhibit will be on display in the museum's gathering room until February 20th, 2021. 

Collecting In Crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic and the civil rights crisis here in America have taken the world by storm. As our lives shift, the Gaston County Museum of Art and History would like to document these moments in history, and we are asking the people of Gaston County to help us by sharing their experiences.




Click! Listen! Watch! Check out the videos below for unique collection highlights by Gaston County Museum staff.


Additional Resources:

Explore more Gaston County history, and digitized Gaston County Museum collections by searching DigitalNC.

Ask a Registrar:

Have specific questions about Gaston County Museum collections? Contact Markecia Koulesser, Registrar, at