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Keeping the Legacy of Happy Hills Alive For Generations to Come

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The African American historic neighborhood, Happy Hills, in Winston Salem, North Carolina is in the process of revitalization. 

For those who are not familiar with Happy Hills, it is the oldest Black neighborhood in Winston Salem, and one of the oldest Black neighborhoods in North Carolina. 

Before the Happy Hills neighborhood was established, free Black people opened up a school on the land in 1867. Then decades later in the 1950s, this neighborhood was where the city of Winston Salem placed its first public housing development. 

Unfortunately, for this development to be built there, about half of the houses were destroyed. And years following this, the majority of the neighborhood was demolished.

Now in the 21st century, many organizations and Happy Hill community members are working to make sure the legacy of the neighborhood stays alive for generations to come, and that fresh food is available for the community residents.

Since 2023,  Triad Cultural Arts has been working to preserve a house in the neighborhood that was built in the early 20th century for a Black working-class family. This is a part of the organization’s Shotgun House Legacy Project in Happy Hill.

By July 2024, Triad Cultural Arts expects that the house will be transformed into an exhibit space, where people can come and learn about the neighborhood, and its impact on local and national African American history.

Right now, the organization is in the process of gathering artifacts, photos, and information from current and former Happy Hill residents. 

If you or someone you know has any information to share with the organization, make sure to attend Triad Cultural Arts community engagement session on Saturday, April 13th from 11am to 2pm. At this event, the organization will record, collect, and share the history and the culture of the neighborhood. If you would like to attend or want more information about the event, please contact Triad Cultural Arts at (336) 757-8556 or triadculture9@gmail.com.

In other news, new homes are being built in Happy Hill!

The City of Winston Salem and the Housing Authority of Winston Salem is working with Habitat for Humanity of Forsyth County to build 13 new single-family homes in Happy Hill. To make sure houses remain affordable to low income families, the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency will provide down payment assistance.

Also, soon fresh food will be available to Happy Hill residents.

During the last week of March, the Happy Hill neighborhood partnered with Home Depot to build a community garden, located at Rising Ebenezer Baptist Church

Since the closest grocery store is over a mile away, this garden will provide fresh produce to the community. 

If you would like to give back to Happy Hill in any way, here’s how:

Remember, it takes all of us to keep the legacy of Happy Hill alive for generations to come.

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