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.

Ashley Gets Land, But The Neighborhood Gets Blamed For Inaction

Monday afternoon, the City Council’s Finance Committee unanimously approved selling City property in the area of New Hope Lane and East Twenty-First Street to the WS/FC Schools, to be used for a new Ashley Elementary. The full City Council will vote on the matter next Monday. Finally, local officials are moving to acquire land for a school that desperately needs replacing. Eunice Campbell and other activists that spoke before the City Council last month deserve a lot of credit for getting the City and WS/FC Schools to strike a deal. The lots in question were optioned to the Housing Authority in 2005.

Disunion Station

“Union Station is a project without a purpose.” -Robert Clark

Winston’s Union Station closed in 1970. After decades operating as Davis Garage, and years spent acquiring and rehabilitating the property, Union Station is finally open to the public. After spending a mere $20 million on the project, the City of Winston-Salem now owns a marvelous, historic building. But what exactly the City is going to do with Union Station is still anyone’s guess. Sadly, after yesterday’s grand opening, the building closed and won’t be open to the public for a while longer.

Union Station Cheat Sheet

The City of Winston-Salem describes the soon-to-open Union Station as a “inter-modal transportation facility” that will serve “as a regional and local bus terminal and later expanding to include regional and long-distance passenger rail service.” When the City took Union Station from Harvey Davis, via eminent domain they were mandated to use Union Station for public transportation. Thus, Union Station will be a bus station for the foreseeable future and perhaps one day a train station. But not any time soon. Though Council Members have assured us that Union Station won’t replace Clark Campbell, that’s cleary what some downtown leaders desire.

Radical Innovation: Using Churches In Winston To Fund Food Co-ops?

Greater Cleveland Avenue Christian Church lost its campus on Lansing Drive over a month ago. You may or not believe in God. But no one can doubt the power of compound interest. Greater Cleveland was in a hell of a lot of debt, and the miracle that their bishop was waiting for never materialized. I’ve been thinking about the significance of a Black congregation having to hand over keys to a bank and walk away from a property that they put millions into.

A Slice Of Incompetence From The City And Atkins CDC

This week’s Winston-Salem City Council meeting doesn’t have much on the agenda. It’s the calm zoning meeting before the City’s new budget is debated and adopted over the next two weeks. So here’s a rewind of what transpired at the May 28th meeting of the W-S City Council, specifically Elizabeth’s Pizza pulling out of its Union Station lease with the City and Atkins CDC. The purpose of winstonwatchman.com is not to critique local Black businesses or community development organizations. And for the record, I’m neither for or against pizza parlors.

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?

The Highway That Divides Winston

Updated 3/6/2019

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a 2011 master’s thesis online that is must reading for anyone in Winston that cares about fighting racism. Reynoldstown: Race, Blight, Disease, Highway Construction and the Transformation of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, by Shane Cruise is a revelation. Through exhaustive research into the city council’s records, the Winston-Salem Journal’s pages, as well as mining Robert Korstad’s work on Local 22, and conducting interviews, Shane Cruise has done a service to Winston-Salem. Reynoldstown: Race, Blight, Disease, Highway Construction and the Transformation of Winston-Salem, North Carolina highlights the role “blight” played in justifying Urban Renewal. Many white citizens favored Urban Renewal in the 1950s, not out of concern for the squalor that many African Americans were condemned to at that time, but because they feared diseases born in neighborhoods like The Pond and Monkey Bottom could spread to white neighborhoods such as Ardmore and Buena Vista.

East Greensboro Has Much To Teach East Winston Regarding Community Development

Last week, Renaissance Community Co-op announced that it would be closing its doors later this month. The announcement came as a shock to the residents of East Greensboro who assembled Monday night at Phillips Avenue for a community meeting. It took years of work for activists to make the Renaissance Community Co-op a reality. While the closing of Renaissance is a setback for East Greensboro, community members are hopeful that a new grocery store, possibly a new co-op will take Renaissance’s place soon. Despite the closing of the anchor tenant at the Renaissance Shops at Phillips Avenue, the transformation of a once-vacant shopping center in East Greensboro is an achievement in itself.