East Winston: a Thriving Black Community

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  • Topic: Black people, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Forsyth County, North Carolina
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  • Published : March 9, 2012
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SCHOOL OF URBAN MISSIONS

WIINSTON-SALEM, NC COHORT 
 

 

EAST WINSTON
A THRIVING BLACK COMMUNITY
 
 

AN ESSAY SUBMITTED TO

DR. GARY PICKENS

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT FOR COURSE 
 

URBAN SOCIOLOGY 
 

BY

KAREN A. CAUTHEN

APRIL 20, 2011

OUTLINE

I. INTRODUCTION
II. HISTORY
III. EAST WINSTON
IV. CLEVELAND AVENUE
V. 25TH STREET
VI. OUTREACH
VII. CONCLUSION

INTRODUCTION
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 driven from the neighborhood by very un-neighborly conduct. As time would progress more and more blacks migrated to East Winston. White supremacy, in the early 1900’s, threatened blacks. The Ku Klux Klan even marched in the area. Around 1920, the whites left in East Winston realized the local emergence of blacks were not going to leave and decided to sell their homes to blacks.

Drastic changes took place in East Winston over the decades which resulted in what was once a largely white populated area had now become the largest of Winston Salem’s seven major communities. By the year 1960 East Winston had over 34,000 residents; a fourth of the city’s population. East Winston is still drastically changing as middle class houses are built and an influx of affluent Black Americans are moving into the area.

HISTORY
As early as the 1940s, East Winston has been a predominantly black community. Originally a rural farming area in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, it grew into a white community with two hospitals, a school, and train station. City Hospital was built in 1913-1914, the same year the city of Winston united with the city of Salem to become Winston-Salem. This hospital had a wing built, dedicated to black patients, in 1922. 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.

EAST WINSTON
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...
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