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East Winston: A Thriving Black Community

1806 words - 8 pages











APRIL 20, 2011



In 1908 a black woman moved on the corner of Woodland Ave. and 8th Street, in what was primarily thought of as a “white neighborhood.” Unseen dividing lines prevented blacks from living on that side of town however, and she was ...view middle of the document...

The Skyland School for whites was built in 1924, the Union Station in 1925, and the Junior League Hospital for Incurables in 1928; only the Union Station is still standing and today is owned by Davis Garage, an auto repair shop.
As the tobacco industry grew and World War I opened up jobs for black workers, the black community began to surround the white community in East Winston. In the 1920’s a few whites began to sell their houses to blacks, but it was not until the early 1940’s when a black man, bought a house in the white community that a rush to sell ensued. In 1941 Jasper Carpenter, was the first black that purchased a home in the white community near City Hospital. As a result, a mass exodus of the whites moved from East Winston to what is presently known as University Parkway. Within the next twelve months, all of East Winston became a black community.
“In the early 1960’s, along with its middle-class houses and businesses, East Winston still had a number of narrow, rutted dirt streets and alleys lined with small, modest frame houses.” Neighborhood’s where defined white or black by how many of that race lived in the area. “Most black neighborhoods were in the “bottoms” or the low-lying and marshy lands near streams.” Because of urban renewal projects by the city of Winston-Salem the slum character of East Winston was erased. The original neighborhood plans was modified by public housing developments and the city’s grid system of roads was converted to peculiar curving streets.

Today, red brick apartments, some single story, some two-story, known as housing projects, line Cleveland Ave.; a main thorough fare running North to South in the middle of East Winston. Parallel to Cleveland, but only half as long, is Highland Ave. with large beautiful homes in styles ranging from ranch to two-story, from colonial to split-level. At the southern and northern ends of Highland Ave. are government subsidized and section 8 apartments; the same style of red brick housing as on Cleveland. In addition, also running parallel to Cleveland Ave. are Jackson Ave., Cameron Ave., and Rich Ave. These streets like Cleveland Ave. and Highland Ave. are studded with a mixture of large homes, small single family dwellings and red brick apartments. Slicing across these are 2nd St., 3rd St., 4th St., etc. thru 25th St., with a few half streets thrown in for good measure. Nestled on almost every corner is a small church of one denomination or another and a convenience store. Tucked away off the main street, within a neighborhood, is a very large church giving witness to those of means. On the more traveled streets the smaller churches are right next door to each other, or just across the street. Small parks randomly dot the area of East Winston with no apparent thought as to location; such as the one at the beginning of an exit ramp leading to Hwy 52N. Most government offices and public programs dealing with assistance in...

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