Being Brown, Black And Or Working Class In Downtown Winston Isn’t A Crime

Last Friday the Winston-Salem Journal published an article that was somewhat of a hit-piece aimed squarely at patrons of the downtown bus station. To be fair, Wesley Young’s piece wasn’t nearly as bad as its print title, “Artist’s vision turns ugly: Decorated downtown wall is scene of problem behaviors; city looks for solutions.” It’s not often that the business class lets the rest of the city know what they really think. Last Friday’s front page article on undesirable behavior supposedly occurring at or near Mr. Imagination’s 55 foot, Memory Wall of Love and Peace was one of those rare moments of transparency. “I get calls about people feeling uncomfortable when they walk by,” Jason Theil of the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership was quoted as saying.

Responding To The Chronicle’s East End Commentary

“The most important thing about the East End is the people.” -Ayers Saint Gross, 8/21/2018

Earlier this week The Chronicle wrote an editorial that was aimed at this website without mentioning it by name. The Chronicle’s, Commentary: Our View: East End redevelopment was an attempt to convince The Chronicle’s readers that there is nothing to see, nothing going on in the “East End” that’s worthy of sharing on social media. But the photos I posted on Facebook (and the article I posted on the subject) tell a different story. And they attracted enough attention to merit a response from The Chronicle.

The “East End” Is Beginning To Empty

It’s important that the COMMUNITY in East Winston is not pushed out of the “East End.” Despite a lot of talk about shared prosperity and avoiding gentrification, we now have evidence that existing residents of the “East End” have been displaced without any public accountability. The Garden Court Apartments located between Third and Fourth Street and Woodland and Metropolitan have been completely emptied of their previous tenants. Other apartment buildings nearby have been almost completely emptied as well. Where is the accountability?

City Hall Versus 515 North Cherry Street

After a shooting early Sunday morning outside of the current club operating at 515 North Cherry left several wounded, it appears that the City will renew its efforts to declare that property a nuisance.  This time City Hall probably won’t stop until they get 515 North Cherry’s owner (Keith Neely) to relinquish the property. Unlike the Winston-Salem Journal, I don’t wholly agree with the City of Winston-Salem’s efforts to close Downtown Winston’s last strip club. Anytime City Hall targets a single business, citizens should be skeptical. And Lollipops, the former all-nude club at 515 North Cherry was undoubtedly targeted. Partially, as the previous owner of Lollipops, Mike Dickinson maintained, because his club was drawing African American patrons downtown.

Goler Hits The Market

Friday, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that Goler Memorial AME Zion’s property adjacent to the Innovation Quarter was for sale. Goler listed their property at Patterson and Seventh for $3.5 million with Linville Team Partners, the commercial real estate firm that has the Downtown Winston market cornered. $3.5 million is a steep price. Who in Winston besides Wake Forest University could come up with that type of money? Goler Memorial plans to relocate.

$30.5 Million Kaleideum Funding Approved By Forsyth County, Another Giveaway To DTWS

Kaleideum: say hello to higher taxes in Forsyth County. Say goodbye to any county-wide education or anti-poverty initiatives that could have been funded with $30.5 million. The Forsyth County Commissioners just approved an extremely generous subsidy to Kaleideum, by a 5-2 vote. This outcome was not surprising. But it was disappointing, and it will limit Forsyth County’s budgetary options for years to come.

Winston-Salem’s Rebel Statue Wranglings; Time To Move The Statue Or Put A Plaque Up Denouncing Jim Crow

The Winston-Salem Journal has reported that an attorney for the United Daughters of the Confederacy has asked the City of Winston-Salem to delay its plans to move the Confederate statue that stands at Fourth and Liberty:
The United Daughters of the Confederacy is asking Winston-Salem for a 60-day delay in filing any legal action to force removal of the Confederate statue at the corner of Fourth and Liberty streets on the grounds of the former Forsyth County Courthouse. James Davis, attorney for the UDC’s North Carolina Division, told City Attorney Angela Carmon in a letter dated Jan. 25 that there are questions about the ownership of the statue and whether allegations that the statue is a public or private nuisance are legally valid. -Confederate statue backers (who may or may not own it) ask city to hold off on forcing a move for the memorial, Wesley Young Winston-Salem Journal
 

If the UDC succeeds in delaying Mayor Joines’ plan to move the Confederate statue from Downtown Winston to Salem Cemetary, it’s time for Joines to implement his backup plan. On January 1, Joines made headlines by stating the City’s intention to move the rebel statue at Fourth and Liberty to Salem Cemetary.

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.

The Confederate Statue Controversy Must Lead To A Wider Conversation About Racism In Winston-Salem

Updated 10:35, 1/05/2019, 433 words

 

Troublemakers force politicians to act. When a brave, anonymous activist added some commentary to Downtown Winston’s Confederate monument on Christmas Eve, it was an early Christmas gift for anti-racist activists in Winston and throughout the state. What was a one or two-day story, became the story in Winston-Salem that everyone is talking about when Mayor Allen Joines announced on January 1, a new plan to relocate Winston’s Confederate statue. Chapel Hill is still the epicenter of the state’s Confederate statue debate. If lawmakers in the NC General Assembly and members of the UNC Board of Governors don’t back down, the state’s flagship public university is going to ignite.

Local Power: Who Has It

Reading through the Triad Business Journal today, I couldn’t help but reflect on the nature of local political power. The Triad Business Journal just released its list of 2018 Power Players. The list is a who’s who of the Triad; CEOs, education leaders, bankers, non-profit leaders, and developers. These upper-class men and women have a disproportionate amount of power over how our local society is shaped. Government is supposed to be of the people, for the people and by the people.