Throwback Thursday: Remembering Watkins Street, The African American West End Enclave Destroyed By The Dash

Today, I’m posting the first of what I hope to be many Throwback Thursday posts. Every Thursday, for the foreseeable future, I am planning on examining, at length, a video from the City of Winston-Salem’s YouTube channel and other sources. The City of Winston-Salem has a number of excellent documentaries that deserve more attention than they’ve received. For a middling, mid-sized city, Winston has a lot of great historical resources in print and on video. With the renegotiation of the Dash’s lease in the news, I thought it would be a good time to take a trip back to Watkins Street.

Coalition Of Activists Engages With Stale, Status Quo Oriented City Council

After months of advocating for less funding for the police, the abolition of cash bail, and more affordable housing during the City Council’s public comments period, FCPARC (Forsyth County Police Reallocation Coalition) was finally invited to speak before the Public Safety Committee on Monday night. After months of being ignored, local activists presented the Public Safety Committee with clear but radical solutions that, if implemented, would make Winston a safer and better community “to live, work, and play.” Unfortunately, the Public Safety Committee gave FCPARC’s proposals a rather cool reception. The only subject of tentative agreement between activists and Councilmembers was the need for better mental health service in the city. Chairman Taylor invited FCPARC to speak to the Public Safety Committee again next month.

The People’s Business: December 14, 2020, WS/FC’s Last Public Meetings Of 2020

This year has been a challenging one. But there is a feeling, amongst some that when we get to 2021, everything will get better; Covid-19 vaccines will be distributed, the pandemic will finally be over, and we can return to normal. In actuality, with the federal eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of the year, cold weather, and Covid spikes crippling small businesses, the darkest days of the pandemic are right around the corner. A case can be made for a small business bailout, but what we really need is an extension of the eviction moratorium. We need an eviction moratorium 2.0 that forgives back rent tenants owe their landlords.

Gaama Foods Closes, Southeast Winston Loses An Important Resource

“The Southeast area of Winston-Salem is an area that
has experienced change in recent years due to the
increased numbers of immigrants, mostly of Hispanic
origin, settling in and opening new businesses, enhancing
further diversity in its population.” -Southeast Area Plan, 2002 

Gaama Foods closed recently. The Latinx-focused grocery store at the corner of Waughtown and Reynolds Park Road, in the Southeast Plaza shopping center, will be missed. When it first opened a few years ago as Compare Foods, it was a modest grocery store with an impressive produce department. A couple of years ago, it became Gaama Foods.

The Lion Isn’t Afraid To Operate In East Winston

Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year for local grocery stores. One of Winston’s most serious problems is the uneven distribution of grocery stores throughout our city, i.e., food deserts. While grocery stores are highly concentrated at Stradford Road and Cloverdale, they’re few and far between in East Winston. In East Winston corner stores stocked with vices but light on nutritional goods are the norm, grocery stores with fresh produce and a variety of healthy (and not so healthy) options are the exception. Food Lion is the lone grocery store chain that has invested in East Winston.

Former Head Of Multi-Million Dollar Foundation Given “Heroes For The Homeless” Award

As Thanksgiving approaches, the nation’s news cycle focuses on hunger and homelessness. It happens every year. Newspapers and broadcast media love feel-good stories about neighbors helping neighbors. But they don’t spend much time focusing on why so many people don’t have access to basic necessities in the wealthiest nation on the planet. Homelessness (and hunger) should not be chronic conditions in our community.

Zooming In On Housing Issues In Winston-Salem, Forsyth County

Last week the Forsyth County Library’s panel discussion on affordable housing got me thinking about all the publicly available resources that document housing disparities in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Often new reports attract a great deal of attention when they are released, but get forgotten as time goes by. So, for that reason, I’ve comprised a list of the important housing studies that have been released in recent years. Mayor and Winston-Salem Alliance president Allen Joines says that he’s working to bring more affordable housing to Winston. But his record tells a different story.

Wake Forest Is On The Move, Again!

Earlier this week, New Hanover County officially approved Novant Health’s $5.3 billion purchase of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. All that’s left is for the state attorney general to sign off on the “remarkable” merger-and, that appears to be a formality. Not to be outdone, Wake Forest Baptist Health announced its merger with Charlotte-based health care Goliath, Atrium Health, on Friday. Wake Forest Health and Atrium Health have been in talks since early 2019. Atrium wanted a medical school in its home market of Charlotte, and Wake Forest wanted a benefactor with deep pockets.

Smith Reynolds Airport Is Estranged From Northeast Winston

Tuesday, September 8, Donald Trump made a campaign stop at Smith Reynolds Airport. At the same time that the Trump hot-air show /Covid-19 party was taking place at Smith Reynolds, the Winston-Salem City Council debated and approved the Smith Reynolds Airport/Whitaker Park Strategic Area Plan. If ever there was a coincidence, that was it. The two events have nothing to do with each other. But, interestingly, while the racism inherent in Trump’s campaign rally is explicit for everyone to see, the structural racism that produced the Smith Reynolds Airport/Whitaker Park Strategic Area Plan requires some unpacking.

Introducing, Winston-Salem’s One Tile Campaign

Vivian Perez-Chandler, co-founder of Soy Emprendedor and Mayor and Winston-Salem Alliance President, Allen Joines hosted an online press conference, late Friday morning with members of the local press. The press conference was streamed live on YouTube. For 30 minutes, Joines and Perez-Chandler described their new, “Restart Winston-Salem, the One Tile Campaign.” Joines called it “an exciting new effort to help small businesses in our community.” According to the Mayor/W-S Alliance Prez, the One Tile Campaign was created by a “small group of minority women,” whose goal is to “restart Winston-Salem, one tile at a time.” Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough and local businessman Max Maxwell also spoke in support of the One Tile Campaign.