MLK Day And Urban Renewal In Winston

Last Monday the Ministers’ Conference and local NAACP led a procession of supporters from the convention center, through Downtown Winston, through the former Pond neighborhood, concluding at Union Baptist Church. The presence of majority African American marchers going through downtown reminded me of how African Americans have been systematically pushed out of Downtown Winston over several decades. As the rhythms of Carver’s Marching Band reverberated through Trade Street, I couldn’t help thinking about all the property that was taken from African Americans, the many decades’ long process of the gentrifying Downtown Winston. An excerpt from Winston-Salem’s African-American Neighborhoods, 1870-1950:

The Pond was a former African American neighborhood razed decades ago. That area of North Trade Street is now referred to as “Industry Hill” for marketing purposes.

Melissa Harris-Perry At Union Baptist

Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry delivered Winston’s 39th Annual MLK Noon Hour Commemoration address on Monday. The Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University didn’t disappoint the packed audience at Union Baptist (including Mayor Joines and three rows of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County politicians, seated front and center). Harris-Perry is something of a public intellectual, widely known to the general public due to the popularity of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC (2012-2016). MHP is an author, an editor at the Nation, and Elle.com. But, Harris-Perry seldom speaks in Winston, outside of the campus of Wake Forest University.

Protesters Greatly Outnumber Confederate Supporters On Fourth Street

On a cold, wet winter’s day opponents and proponents of the Confederate statue at 50 West Fourth Street gathered on opposite sides of Fourth Street in dueling protests. At the base of the Confederate statue, a modest, all-white group of approximately 20 gathered. They came to Winston to oppose Winston-Salem Alliance President and W-S Mayor, Allen Joines’ plan to move Winston’s Confederate statue to Salem Cemetery. Across the street, at One West Fourth Street, a much more substantial and diverse crowd gathered to denounce the racially and historically challenged supporters of the Confederacy. A social media post two weeks ago alerted the Left in Winston that some unsavory, Confederate-loving rabble were coming to Winston.

Merry Prankster Defaces Downtown Statue That Should Have Been Removed Long Ago

Christmas came a day early for everyone in Winston that resents the presence of a Confederate statue in front of the old courthouse. Yesterday, some merry prankster with a purpose wrote the words “COWARDS & TRAITORS” on the Confederate statue that has stood tall at Liberty and Fourth for many years, projecting hate. Earlier in the week I was bemoaning Winston’s inaction, our nonchalance toward Johnny Rebel* when activists in Durham and Chapel Hill (two other college towns) took down their Confederate statues in August 2017 and August 2018 respectively. I’ve been impressed with activists in Chapel Hill, the work they’ve done to keep Silent Sam from returning to UNC. By contrast, Winston has been silent.

Pride Winston-Salem 2018

The weather couldn’t have been better Saturday. It was a gorgeous afternoon to be in Downtown Winston for Pride Winston-Salem 2018. Pride Winston-Salem is an affirmation of individuality. It’s a time when the LGBTQ community takes to the streets of Downtown Winston, joined by straight allies. I’m a big fan of Pride Winston-Salem, but I hate to see the festival get more commercial and corporate each year.

Seeking Advantage In A Time Of Inequity

Tuesday night’s WS/FCS Board meeting was another spirited affair. Supporters of R.J. Reynolds’ Home Field Advantage probably got more pushback from Save Hanes Park activists than they expected. But in the end, the school board voted unanimously to approve HFA’s plans for a new football stadium at Wiley Middle School. Save Hanes Park supporters are definitely on the right side of history. Reynolds’ proposed new football stadium* is the wrong project, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The People’s Business

Monday, 9/17/2018:

Noon – The Public Assembly Facilities Commission will meet at the Benton Convention Center. 3:00 p.m. – The Outstanding Women Leaders Program Committee will hold its monthly meeting in the City Manager’s Conference Room at City Hall. 7:00 p.m. -City Council Meeting, in the Council Chamber, City Hall, Room 230. Tuesday, 9/18/2018:

4:00 p.m. – The Minority and Women Business Enterprise Citizen Advisory Committee will hold its monthly meeting in the Public Works Conference Room, City Hall, Room 348. Wednesday, 9/19/2018:

2:00 p.m. – Forsyth County Commissioners meeting at the Forsyth County Government Center.

FLOC Promotes Civil Rights Unionism At The Beloved Community Center

FLOC (Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO) and its allies brought a sizable contingent of supporters down from Toledo, Ohio to North Carolina this week. The purpose of their North Carolina tour was to explore the intersections between Black and Brown struggles for justice. The Black/Brown Unity Coalition’s first stop was Greensboro on Thursday. The Black/Brown Unity Coalition visited the International Civil Rights Center in the morning. Later in the day, they came to the Beloved Community Center for food and fellowship. After the getting steeped in the history of the Civil Rights movement, the group journeyed to the tobacco fields of Eastern North Carolina Friday to witness the harsh and often inhumane conditions that tobacco workers endure.

The Power Of The People Was On Display At The August 20 Meeting Of The W-S City Council

The August 20th Winston-Salem City Council meeting was one to remember. It was the most democratic city council meeting that I have ever witnessed. It was a rare example of people in the council chamber pushing back against the mayor and city council. Typically the Winston-Salem City Council doesn’t give much time for citizens to voice their concerns. Public comments are given at the end of council meetings, just before adjournment.

Charlottesville: Fascist Thugs Will Assault Black Folks In The Streets, But White Liberals Will Take House And Home

This weekend is the one-year anniversary of Battle of Charlottesville. Everyone reading this article remembers the events of last August in Charlottesville; a college town that will forever be associated with Thomas Jefferson, like Winston-Salem will always be associated with R.J. Reynolds. Gun-toting nazis and fascist white supremacists of various stripes in the streets of Charlottesville were a reminder of how relatively little progress our country has made combatting racism. America is still a violent and racist nation. God bless the Antifa activists that confronted the fascists.