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.

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.

Fries Memorial Moravian Raises Funds To Provide Piedmont Circle New Playground Equipment

Saturday evening, local law enforcement and politicians-Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough chief among them hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at Fries Memorial Moravian Church. Their goal was to raise $15,000 to upgrade Piedmont Circle’s pathetic playground. According to WXII, they exceeded their goal by $3,000. Eighteen thousand dollars for new playground equipment at Piedmont Circle is a wonderful thing. I commend the diverse group of folks who came together to make this happen.

HAWS Promotes Kevin Cheshire And Looks To Facilitate Sale Of The Skyline Village Apartments

Yesterday, the Winston-Salem Housing Authority named Kevin Cheshire its new executive director. Kevin Cheshire previously served as the Vice President of Real Estate Development and General Counsel at HAWS, where he has been employed since 2013. He replaced Larry Woods, who retired at the end of December. Cheshire told the Journal’s Wesley Young that “the mission of HAWS stays the same: To help individuals move in, up and out of assisted housing.”

Our local housing authority has a shameful history of evicting tenants “out of assisted housing.” Kevin Cheshire is the first white leader of the Winston-Salem Housing Authority in decades.

Marshall Bass’s Autobiography Chronicles Workplace Racism And Housing Racism That Has Led To Winston’s Wealth Gap

Decorated Army veteran, corporate manager, and local philanthropist Marshall Bass died in late November. Services for Bass were held this week at Russell Funeral Home and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Marshall Bass’s life might not be well known to the average person in Winston, Black or white. Sadly, our local media are more interested in a new boutique donut shop than remembering a local trailblazer.  Marshall Bass lived a remarkable life that’s worth remembering.