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.

Pass It On!

Universal African American History At WSFC Schools And The City Council’s African American Heritage Action Initiative Is A Step Forward

After several months of sustained activism (passing out flyers, hosting public events and attending long school board meetings) Hate Out of Winston, a local activist group that came together during Winston’s Confederate statue controversy has succeeded in getting WSFC Schools to consider universal African American history classes in the fall. (Mandatory sounds so negative, learning African American history is a positive for WS/FCS students regardless of the color of their skin. That’s why I’m using the term universal instead of mandatory.)

Earlier today, Triad City Beat reported that “that the curriculum committee of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board will consider adding a mandatory African-American studies class to the high school curriculum at its October meeting.” Jordan Green’s article noted that several local Black politicians are publicly supporting universal African American history classes. Student Minister Effrainguan Muhammad told Green that the “Winston-Salem Local Organizing Committee has been asking for a mandatory African-American studies course for the past three years” only to get the runaround from the WSFC School Board.

Pass It On!

The People’s Business: June 17, 2019

It’s time to pass a budget. The nearly $500 million, 2019-2020 City of Winston-Salem budget dominates today’s City Council agenda. Higher taxes to pay for bond obligations and stagnant pay for city workers, while councilmembers received a huge raise-these are some of the topics that will be discussed at today’s City Council meeting. The City Council will also debate purchasing land on Burke Mill Road for a new fire station. As usual, some topics that need to be discussed will be ignored.

Pass It On!

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.

Pass It On!

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?

Pass It On!

The Donny Classic Fair?

Earlier this week, a group of ministers asked the City Council to consider changing the name of the Dixie Classic Fair. I support what Rev. Bishop Sir Walter Mack Jr. and Love Out Loud proposed. But it wasn’t what Mack and other ministers said at last week’s General Government Committee meeting that drew my attention; it was how they said it. Local ministers in Winston work within the system and seldom speak a discourteous word to the Mayor and City Council. I prefer the tone Hate Out of Winston took when they stood up to the City Council earlier this year.

Pass It On!

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.

Pass It On!

Progressive Activists Fill First Baptist On Highland To Organize Against Lambeth’s Segregationist Shenanigans

A crowd of over 300 packed First Baptist on Highland Monday night. The Winston-Salem Urban League, the W-S NAACP, Action4Equity, the Minister’s Conference and other local organization’s called the meeting to educate, organize, and mobilize against a trifecta of audacious, right-wing bills crafted by Rep. Donny Lambeth meant to preserve white privilege in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. The Color of Crisis Forum was moderated by Rev. Ford. The panel consisted of Mayor Allen Joines, members of the City Council, Rep. Derwin Montgomery, Rep. Evelyn Terry, and Senator Paul Lowe as well as school board chairwoman, Malishai Woodbury. School board co-chair, Barbara Hanes Burke, Councilmember Dan Besse, and County Commissioner Fleming El-Amin were also in attendance.

Pass It On!

From Free Dan Besse! To Free Winston-Salem!

When I read last Friday’s paper, I was hoping that April Fool’s Day came a few days early this year. But that wasn’t the case. State lawmakers Donny Lambeth and Debra Conrad have arrogantly introduced a bill to reconfigure Winston’s wards, without any input from the residents of Winston. They plan to reduce the City’s eight wards to six, with two councilmembers elected at large. This is another legislative power grab by North Carolina Republicans who resent cities like Winston that are solidly Democrat.

Pass It On!

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.

Pass It On!