A thriving black Winston-Salem economy supported by sound equitable policies, built upon the assets of the community and sustained by competitive and innovative solutions
A Brief History of Winston, Salem, Winston-Salem and East Winston
Salem meaning “peace” in Hebrew was founded in 1766 by Moravians of German descent and Winston was founded in 1849 named after Revolutionary War Hero Major Joseph Winston.
Winston-Salem was founded in 1913 from the two towns that were one mile apart and now after 106 years the city is more divided than ever.
In 1856 Richard Joshua Reynolds started RJ Reynolds which became the driving force of the economy in Winston-Salem and North Carolina as a whole.
Tobacco was harvested by slaves that lived in Winston for wealthy white slave owners that lived in Salem creating the genesis for what we still face today in 2019.
With Slavery providing free labor and removing humanity from African Americans this was the start of the greatest disparity ever seen in American history.
Slavery was a foundational law that set the stage for the disparity witnessed across every aspect of life in Winston-Salem and the US.
Slavery was such an important part of the fabric of the US that after it was abolished in 1865 the Black Codes picked up where slavery ended to further restrict the rights of “free” African Americans in terms of employment, ownership justice and much more
The Black Codes succeeded for over a century until civil rights laws were enacted in which white supremacy responded with Jim Crow laws that segregated whites and blacks with the core objective of marginalizing black people back to an Antebellum existence.
These laws caused concentrated poverty, lack of resources and educational disparity that is ever present in East Winston and throughout the US.
In the face of this adversity the black community in East Winston was able to create opportunities to create their own economy by necessity creating;
The Safe Bus Company which was the largest black owned transportation company in the world.
Winston Mutual which was the second largest black owned insurance company in the world.
Mechanics and Farmers and a host of other businesses that supported the black economy.
Now after several decades East Winston is feeling and seeing the results of this discrimination and the question looms large “What will we do today to create an equitable East Winston for tomorrow?”