Broken Circle: A Few More Thoughts On Piedmont Circle And Brookside

The amount of money that is going to be invested in and around Cleveland Avenue is astounding. In a sense, it’s like Cleveland Avenue, and adjacent neighborhoods won the lottery. On the other hand, the infusion of tens of millions of public and private dollars will lead to the displacement of longtime residents if the community is not involved in its “transformation.” I worry about residents who have suffered for years in poorly maintained public housing units won’t be allowed to live in the new homes on Cleveland Avenue. On the other side of 25th Street, Piedmont Circle is in the shadows.

Liberty CDC And The Limits Of Working Within The System

The Winston-Salem Journal recently reported that Jim Shaw, the man “who led efforts to develop the Liberty Street Corridor, died Monday of brain cancer.” I will leave it to others to judge Jim Shaw, The Chronicle’s 2006 Man of the Year. I don’t wish to speak ill of the dead. But the CDC that Shaw led for the better part of 20 years deserves scrutiny. The Liberty CDC floundered in its efforts to redevelop the Liberty Street Corridor while Downtown Winston-Salem was transformed at great costs to local taxpayers.

The Bowen Park Neighborhood: Marketing Versus Reality

“Bowen Park now has a historical marker. The community was home for many Blacks seeking their part of the American dream in the 40s, 50s, and 60s-a place viewed fondly for the foundation it laid, the men and women it made, and the home it continues to be today.” -Bowen Park: A Dream Realized

Recently, the City of Winston-Salem put up a historical marker at Bowen Boulevard and Douglas Hill Drive, honoring the Bowen Park Neighborhood. Unlike Reynoldstown and most of East Winston, which were originally built for white homeowners, Bowen Park was built for African Americans. Bowen Park was segregated when it was built in the 1940s and 1950s, and it’s still segregated today.

Smith Reynolds Airport Is Estranged From Northeast Winston

Tuesday, September 8, Donald Trump made a campaign stop at Smith Reynolds Airport. At the same time that the Trump hot-air show /Covid-19 party was taking place at Smith Reynolds, the Winston-Salem City Council debated and approved the Smith Reynolds Airport/Whitaker Park Strategic Area Plan. If ever there was a coincidence, that was it. The two events have nothing to do with each other. But, interestingly, while the racism inherent in Trump’s campaign rally is explicit for everyone to see, the structural racism that produced the Smith Reynolds Airport/Whitaker Park Strategic Area Plan requires some unpacking.

The East End Eases Forward, Ever So Slowly, For Now

The former Burger King building at 510 N Martin Luther King Jr Drive reopened as a Popeye’s restaurant earlier this year. Winston’s second Popeye’s (the first location opened on University) was a major upgrade for East Winston, a community that lacks restaurant options that the rest of the city takes for granted. Even though the Popeyes at MLK and Fifth has been open for months now, the city has an issue with it. The City of Winston-Salem wants Popeye’s to conform to the higher standards of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Overlay District. This is a matter that the City has been debating since 2017.

A Vacant Storefront On North Liberty Tells A Story

For the last couple of weeks, I have been taking photos of the Liberty Street Corridor, while practicing social distancing. Only a five-minute drive from downtown, it’s a world away. While downtown Winston has received over $1 billion in public and private investments over the last couple of decades, the Liberty Street Corridor has received empty promises and ill-conceived projects, such as the Liberty Street Market. If any neighborhood in our city needs a bailout, it’s the North Liberty Street/Fourteenth Street neighborhood. Actually, the Black residents of the Liberty Corridor deserve reparations.

In East Winston, Art Imitates Life

Last month, the corner store at 14th and Cameron was damaged when a vehicle crashed into it. When I recently looked at the damage myself, it struck me that the 14th Street corner store is representative of the plight of East Winston. A mural painted by Marianne DiNiapoli-Mylet and Donell Williams in 2015, presents the story of Black achievement in East Winston as stops along a Safe Bus route. It’s an impressive mural and there is no denying the achievements that local African Americans have accomplished, in spite of entrenched racism. From master brickmaker George Black to politicians like Larry Womble and Earline Parmon, the history captured my the mural at 14th and Cameron is worth celebrating.

Black History Expo Reaffirms Happy Hills Historic Importance

“Happy Hill!” “Black history!” The voice of Ben Piggott rang through the Sims Recreation Center Saturday. Ben Piggott, a longtime rec center manager and organizer in Happy Hill, served as MC for the first-annual Happy Hill Black History Expo. The Happy Hill Neighborhood Association hosted the event.

What Should Be Done To Aid East Winston?

On February 1, the five candidates running in the East Ward City Council race participated in a debate at the Delta Arts Center. I encourage folks to watch the entire debate at their leisure. The two-hour-long event got me thinking about what should be done to aid East Winston? East Winston has the highest poverty rates in the city and the lowest amount of financial resources. I don’t have any magic answers, and I admit that local solutions will be challenging to implement without support from the state and local government.

The East Winston Library: A Jim Crow-Era Time Capsule

“East Winston, how can I help you?” That’s how a young white woman at the Malloy/ Jordan Library answered the phone when I was there recently. The Malloy/Jordan Library was built in 1954, one year after the Central Library on Fifth Street was constructed. But its history dates back to February 1927 when the first library branch was opened in East Winston. Last year, the East Winston Library celebrated its 65th anniversary. Recent upgrades to the Malloy/Jordan or East Winston Library have brought it into the 21st century, but there simply isn’t enough space for patrons at the East Winston Library.