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Innovation Quarter News

Event to Explore History, Collect Stories of Once-Thriving ‘Tobacco District’ Communities

The rich history of the predominantly African-American communities that were home to thousands of workers and their families during tobacco’s heyday in Winston-Salem will be explored at a free interactive event on Saturday, Nov. 21.

“Remembering the Neighborhood: Life in the Former Tobacco District” will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Wake Forest Biotech Place in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, which encompasses the sites of both once-bustling tobacco facilities and once-thriving residential and commercial areas.

The centerpiece of “Remembering the Neighborhood” will be a panel discussion including former Belews Street neighborhood resident Barbara Morris, former tobacco worker Miles Harry, former Winston-Salem city staff member Jack Stillman, community historian and author Annette Scippio and educator Rudy Anderson. The discussion will be moderated by Endia Beal, director of The Diggs Gallery of Winston-Salem State University.

Among the activities available to attendees will be viewing a slide show of images from The ARCHIVE (Society for the Study of Afro-American History in Winston-Salem) and other sources, listening to oral history recordings made by the City-County Planning Department and participating in a New Winston Museum “memory mapping” project.

Additionally, University of North Carolina-Greensboro graduate student Amanda Holland will be on hand to record the recollections of former area residents and tobacco workers.

Complimentary light refreshments will be served and there will be an activity area for young children.

Biotech Place is located at 575 N. Patterson Ave. Free parking for this event will be available in Innovation Quarter Lot P1, which is accessible via North Chestnut Street.

“Remembering the Neighborhood” has been organized by a partnership of The ARCHIVE (Society for the Study of Afro-American History in Winston-Salem), the City-County Planning Board, The Diggs Gallery of Winston-Salem State University, New Winston Museum, the Office of City Council Member Derwin L. Montgomery, the Wake Forest University Department of History, Old Salem Museum & Gardens – St. Philips Heritage Center, Wexford Science & Technology, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and resident volunteers.