Monday I sat down and interviewed a resident of the Cleveland Avenue Homes. Tuesday I stumbled upon an old copy of The Black Panther newspaper dated March 1970. It’s the one with the Winston-Salem chapter of the Black Panther Party on the front page.*
The black power newspaper has an image of local Panthers, led by Larry Little assisting Miss Polly Graham. Graham had been unjustly evicted from her home. The Winston-Salem chapter of the Black Panther Party put Miss Polly Graham’s possessions back in her home and posted two men with shotguns at her front door.
Monday was Councilmember D.D. Adams birthday. But it wasn’t a day for celebrations. After quickly wishing Adams a happy birthday Winston-Salem Alliance president and Winston-Salem mayor, Allen Joines took a more somber tone as he addressed the shooting of Edward Van McCrae by a Winston-Salem Police Department officer. Mayor Joines essentially repeated what he and Councilmember James Taylor said at a press conference earlier in the day:
“We will, as a city be diligent in releasing the all information possible, as soon as possible. Basically, as soon as the SBI and district attorney complete their investigation.
The Ramkat hosted its first concert Friday night. The Vagabond Saints Society, an amazing collection of the city’s best musicians had the honor of reopening Downtown Winston’s premier music venue. It’s been just over two years since the club that Jay Stephens opened in 2011 on the corner of 9th and Trade closed. It’s nice to see large-scale live music return to Downtown Winston. The hope is that The Ramkat will succeed where Ziggy’s failed.
Earlier this week, Mayor and Winston-Salem Alliance president Allen Joines oversaw the official powering-up of the LED lights on the Twin Arches over Highway 52. The public art initiative is a public/private partnership spearheaded by the Creative Corridors Coalition. It’s the first of several projects that Creative Corridors are working on in conjunction with the ongoing road-work along Highway 52 and Business 40. The Winston-Salem Journal is reporting that opinions on the Twin Arches are mixed. I personally find the Twin Arches a little underwhelming. But the view from Research Parkway is compelling.
Last week the Winston-Salem City Council forgave a $167,500 loan to Lake Park Develpment, Inc. Lake Park Development, Inc. is owned by media/real estate mogul, Jose Isasi. Mr. Isasi’s has been the recipient of generous city subsidies in the past. But for now, let’s focus on Lake Park. Lake Park is a nice subdivision, that was built in the 1990s onto an existing neighborhood off of Waterworks Road. It’s an upper-middle-class subdivision that would not be out-of-place in Clemmons or even Lewisville.
Martin Luther King Day is a curious holiday in the United States. We give Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. a day, yet ignore Dr. King the other 364 days of the year. What if we celebrated Christmas the same way that we celebrate Martin Luther King Day? Only a fool would unwrap their gifts, enjoy them for one short day, then box them up until next Christmas. But that is how we celebrate Martin Luther King Day. We need Dr. King each and every day of the year.
The Winston-Salem Chronicle recently reported that the Liberty Street Market was “in transition once again.” Once again, in the market’s short, but troubled history it’s without a manager. But setbacks at the Liberty Street Market are hardly news. To say that the Liberty Street Market is in “transition” implies that the property is in motion. In truth, the Liberty Street Market has been mostly dormant since it opened in October 2014. It’s an utter failure, a monument to the incompetence of the Winston-Salem City Council, particularly Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke.
On Tuesday, the Winston-Salem Journal showered praise on local government leaders for their development of the Enclave apartments off Shattalon Drive. The Chronicle ran a similar article on the Enclave apartments days earlier. The implication of these articles is obvious. (But admittedly, I didn’t realize it until a friend on facebook pointed it out to me.) The article isn’t just about the Enclave, it’s a message to the Boston-Thurmond community. The Journal and Chronicle would like the residents of Boston-Thurmond to stop worrying and learn to love Wake Forest’s proposed redevelopment of their neighborhood and the gentrification that will surely follow.
It’s Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday. For all the reasons to hate Thanksgiving, I still love it. I know that our nation’s genocide of Native Americans is nothing to celebrate. But Thanksgiving with all its baggage is a time to gather with family and friends. It’s a time to be thankful for the things that we have, even as we actively covet Christmas gifts that we don’t need.
The New Winston Museum’s “Envisioning Columbian Heights” presentation at Mars Hill Baptist Church Thursday night drew a crowd of 40-50 people. Many of the attendees are longtime residents of East Winston with strong ties to Columbian Heights. They fondly remembered Columbian Heights and proudly recounted their memories of the neighborhood. Columbian Heights is the neighborhood immediately surrounding Winston-Salem State University. It was founded by Simon Green Atkins in the 1890s.