WS/FC Schools: 25 Years Of “Choice”

Yesterday was the Winston-Salem /Forsyth County Schools’ first day of classes. Due to the coronavirus, students are learning remotely via Zoom, instead of in the classrooms. With all the talk about the coronavirus this year, little to no attention has been given to the topic of school “choice.” This month marks the 25th anniversary of the WS/FC School’s controversial school “choice program,” first implemented by then-Superintendent, Don Martin in 1995. NC Policy Watch’s Rob Schofield has called WS/FCS’ choice system “a case study in school re-segregation.” Even WFDD can’t deny that our school system has been resegregated by “choice.”

Moving WSSU/WFU Sit-In Commemoration Failed To Mention Carl Matthews

Sunday, over two hundred people gathered downtown to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Winston-Salem Sit-In. Winston-Salem State chancellor, Elwood Robinson, and Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch led the commemoration honoring the WSSU and WFU students who participated in the Winston-Salem Sit-In. An hour-long service was held at the Millenium Center, the site of many protests during the 1960s. With students and faculty from WSSU and Wake in attendance, Dr. Hatch emphasized the fact that white students from Wake Forest made common cause with Winston-Salem State’s students in February 1960. Working together, WSSU/Wake Forest students played an integral role in the first sit-in victory in North Carolina.

2020 Hasn’t Turned Out Like Mayor Joines Promised

Downtown Winston-Salem’s main traffic artery, Salem Parkway, opened on Sunday, February 2. It had been closed since November 17, 2018. I will remember the roughly 14 months that Business 40/Salem Parkway was closed, as the long 2019. The absence of four lanes of highway running from Peters Creek to Highway 52 wasn’t catastrophic. But it was a constant annoyance.

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.

The Winston-Salem City Council’s Dixie Debate Word-For-Word

Monday night’s Winston-Salem City Council meeting was one for the history books. The resolution to rename the Dixie Classic Fair passed by a 4-2 margin, with one abstention, effectively the resolution passed 5-2. Denise Adams, Dan Besse, Vivian Burke, and Annette Scippio voted yes. John Larson and Jeff MacIntosh voted no. And James Taylor, who was the first politician to suggest that the Dixie Classic Fair’s name should be changed in 2015, abstained.

When The Salem Band Played Dixie

Nearly five months ago, the Confederate statue that stood in downtown Winston-Salem since 1905 was removed by the City of Winston-Salem. That statue was erected, four decades after the Civil War ended to cement Jim Crow segregation. It was an illegitimate participation trophy, meant to terrorize African Americans. Anyone who is uncertain of the purpose of the former statue located at Fourth and Liberty should remember that Alfred Moore Waddell, the racist terrorist who led a bloody coup that ousted Wilmington’s elected government in 1898, spoke at the statue’s dedication. The City of Winston-Salem currently has the unrepentant rebel stored at an undisclosed location.

Union Station Cheat Sheet

The City of Winston-Salem describes the soon-to-open Union Station as an “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 clearly what some downtown leaders desire.

Goler Hits The Market

Friday, the Winston-Salem Journal reported that Goler Memorial AME Zion’s property adjacent to the Innovation Quarter was for sale. Goler listed their property at Patterson and Seventh for $3.5 million with Linville Team Partners, the commercial real estate firm that has the Downtown Winston market cornered. $3.5 million is a steep price. Who in Winston besides Wake Forest University could come up with that type of money? Goler Memorial plans to relocate.

MLK Day And Urban Renewal In Winston

Last Monday the Ministers’ Conference and local NAACP led a procession of supporters from the convention center, through Downtown Winston, through the former Pond neighborhood, concluding at Union Baptist Church. The presence of majority African American marchers going through downtown reminded me of how African Americans have been systematically pushed out of Downtown Winston over several decades. As the rhythms of Carver’s Marching Band reverberated through Trade Street, I couldn’t help thinking about all the property that was taken from African Americans, the many decades’ long process of the gentrifying Downtown Winston. An excerpt from Winston-Salem’s African-American Neighborhoods, 1870-1950:

The Pond was a former African American neighborhood razed decades ago. That area of North Trade Street is now referred to as “Industry Hill” for marketing purposes.

Melissa Harris-Perry At Union Baptist

Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry delivered Winston’s 39th Annual MLK Noon Hour Commemoration address on Monday. The Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University didn’t disappoint the packed audience at Union Baptist (including Mayor Joines and three rows of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County politicians, seated front and center). Harris-Perry is something of a public intellectual, widely known to the general public due to the popularity of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC (2012-2016). MHP is an author, an editor at the Nation, and Elle.com. But, Harris-Perry seldom speaks in Winston, outside of the campus of Wake Forest University.