Acknowledging the Black History in Statesville
By Lisa Mozer, Ed.D.
STATESVILLE, NC – Just blocks from downtown, Garfield Street and Green Street are the most African American historic locations in the city. Leaders of Iredell County please be considerate of inclusivity that warrants sharing the historical sacrifices of early Africans laboring here. Also, be considerate of the funding that was not provided, and services unfairly withheld from this neighborhood. We have long been in need and neglected. The two most significant historic markers missing:
Billingsley Academy on Green Street, and Dr. Holiday & Mrs. Holiday’s Garfield St residence.
Neighborhood streets around the historic Billingsley Academy were dirt roads well into the mid-1960s. These same neighborhood streets (Broadway Ct, Newton Street, S. Elm Street, Dockery Street, and Falls Street) today do not have any sidewalks. Retaining walls and driveways are also a common need for homes in this area. Children walking to the Garfield Playground are walking in the streets where there is increasing traffic, and the Garfield Park on the ball court side needs a retaining wall. With the intensity of rainfall and climate variations more attention to the landscape of the area is greatly needed.
The beginnings of African Americans in Iredell County are similar to the common experiences of Blacks and biracial people enslaved throughout the United States and territories. Enslavement trauma where there is culture-demise, inhumane treatment…) plaguing many local generations with hardships are evident and yet survivors and local families made contributions of historical significance. Collaborative efforts were possible then and today we can also benefit in our coming together. From emancipation freedom to the confines of segregation - the unique roles of residents on Garfield Street and Green Street were influential for all of Statesville. Having your support can be influential in making this neighborhood a historic district and to improve infrastructure with development funding should not be another oversight.
What committee can be appointed for historic purposes?