MLK Drive’s Ghost Project Is Still Stalled

Monday’s meeting of the Winston-Salem City Council was noteworthy. There’s a lot to unpack. The activist pushback against our status quo city council during public comments was enlightening and entertaining. While the City’s Nondiscrimination Initiative and half-hearted community investment measures are likely to get covered reasonably well by the local press. An item on Monday’s agenda that is unlikely to get any press coverage caught my eye.

Wake Forest University’s Monkey Quarter

Wake Forest University has found itself in PETA’s crosshairs. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is accusing a Wake Forest University researcher of involvement in an unethical animal experiment in China. Lee Enterprises’ John Newsom wrote a nice summary of this controversy in today’s Winston-Salem Journal. While PETA is concerned with Wake Forest’s involvement with “cruel and pointless experiments on monkeys at an institution in China,” I am more concerned with the monkey business that it’s engaged in here in Forsyth County. Most folks don’t even know that Wake Forest operates a research facility just off Peters Creek Parkway, on the Davidson/Forsyth County line.

Hammering Hank Endorsed Joe Camel Decades Ago

Recently, baseball great Hank Aaron died at age 86. The celebrated home run hitter overcame a shameful barrage of racist hostility when he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record on April 8, 1974, in Atlanta. It’s time for the Atlanta Braves to change their name to the Hammers, in honor of “hammering” Hank Aaron. In the wake of Aaron’s death, the Journal posted some articles on Aaron’s visits to Winston. The Journal seems to do a better job of looking back than looking forward these days.

The Black Liberation Struggle Told Through Signs Along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Last Thursday, just ahead of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, The Chronicle ran a piece on King’s visit to Winston back in 1964. King visited Goler Metropolitan AME Church as well as recently desegregated Wake Forest University. King’s visit to Camel City came just one year after his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech and less than four years before his 1968 assassination in Memphis, Tennesse. The Journal also covered King’s visit in a piece that they have run many times before. Both The Chronicle and Journal’s pieces are excellent.

Union Station 2021, An Update

For nearly forty years (1975-2012), Winston’s Union Station was just another garage. It was Davis Garage, an auto repair and towing service owned and operated by Harvey Davis. The Davis family bought Union Station for a song back in 1970 and had ambitions of one day redeveloping it. Harvey Davis’ dreams were dashed when the City used eminent domain to take possession of Union Station in 2012. Everyone can agree that an auto repair business being housed inside of a historic property adjacent to Winston-Salem State was just plain wrong.

Throwback Thursday: Remembering Watkins Street, The African American West End Enclave Destroyed By The Dash

Today, I’m posting the first of what I hope to be many Throwback Thursday posts. Every Thursday, for the foreseeable future, I am planning on examining, at length, a video from the City of Winston-Salem’s YouTube channel and other sources. The City of Winston-Salem has a number of excellent documentaries that deserve more attention than they’ve received. For a middling, mid-sized city, Winston has a lot of great historical resources in print and on video. With the renegotiation of the Dash’s lease in the news, I thought it would be a good time to take a trip back to Watkins Street.

No More Free Rides. WSTA Resumes Bus Fares

 

On January 4, the Winston-Salem Transit Authority resumed charging bus riders in Winston for the pleasure of using its mediocre service. Bus fares had been suspended since last Spring in an effort to promote social distancing and limit driver/passenger interaction. Like so many Covid-19 measures, WSTA’s safety measures have been relaxed. But according to WSTA, buses are still being cleaned on an hourly basis and deep cleaning of the buses is being done after business hours. Donna Woodson, WSTA General Manager, briefed the City Council’s Public Works Committee on Tuesday.

Coalition Of Activists Engages With Stale, Status Quo Oriented City Council

After months of advocating for less funding for the police, the abolition of cash bail, and more affordable housing during the City Council’s public comments period, FCPARC (Forsyth County Police Reallocation Coalition) was finally invited to speak before the Public Safety Committee on Monday night. After months of being ignored, local activists presented the Public Safety Committee with clear but radical solutions that, if implemented, would make Winston a safer and better community “to live, work, and play.” Unfortunately, the Public Safety Committee gave FCPARC’s proposals a rather cool reception. The only subject of tentative agreement between activists and Councilmembers was the need for better mental health service in the city. Chairman Taylor invited FCPARC to speak to the Public Safety Committee again next month.

Winston-Salem City Council Meeting Merry-Go-Round: January 4, 2021, Gunshot Detection, Belview Rec Center, Affordable Parking + Union Station!

The Winston-Salem City Council started the year off with a rather dull meeting. They met remotely, as they have done since Covid-19 emergency orders were implemented last March. The Council, led by W-S Alliance President and WSNC Mayor Allen Joines, did not allow public comments. For some months now, local activists with the Triad Abolition Project, Housing Justice Now, and Hate Out of Winston have offered a blistering critique of the Council’s priorities (funding the WSPD, not funding affordable housing, inaction in the midst of an eviction tsunami). By consent, without any discussion, the WSNC City Council approved a new Gunshot Detection System.

New Tool From MapForsyth Provides Primary Documents On Many WS/FC Streets

Have you ever wondered where some of Winston’s road names came from? MapForsyth recently released an application to help satisfy your curiosity. You can find an introduction to the Historic Centerlines Web App on Forsyth County’s webpage. I found the Historic Centerlines Web App to be a useful tool that needs a little refinement. Hopefully, MapForsyth isn’t finished with this new research tool that has a great deal of potential.