Last updated 8/5/2020 at 5:52pm
Since my last writing months ago for the Rosenwald News, I am primarily in Georgia, with occasional excursions back to North Carolina. I still have friends and family here in Transylvania County, active community projects and a business that I am involved in.
During my visits, I felt blessed to talk to people at a safe distance and to be involved in rewarding activities. I realized that news was accumulating on my watch, so to speak, and I didn't feel good about not passing the information along. So, my writing future Rosenwald News may not come every week, but when I have enough to report. I am thankful for The Transylvania Times providing the space for me to do that.
In June, the Task Force (City/Mary C. Jenkins Community Center Board representatives) met on two occasions. Masked with appropriate spacing, we met at the beginning of the month in City Council chambers. It was good to get back to meeting in person and to continue our planning efforts. The last day of the month saw us gathered outdoors for an unveiling of a sign on the MCJCC property. The importance of the sign was to let the community know that we were still committed to moving forward. The "we" refers to a community partnership between the MCJCC Task Force, the MCJCC Board of Trustees, along with Bethel "A" Baptist Church Board of Trustees.
From that late June gathering, I liked that City Manager Jim Fatland shared how the city came onboard to add their commitment to our revitalization journey. I like that Randy Lytle, president of MCJCC Board, added a sense of gratitude for the support and partnership.
I like that Tommy Williamson Sr. raised his hands to the heavens while Pastor Larry Davis, both representing Bethel "A," was blessing the property. I loved hearing the shared vision that was communicated by all. A shared vision of our coming together, making improvements to the playground, to parking and to our once again providing a community center home. It felt fitting that we convened in the same location that we did for that scheduled burn day. It felt right that Matt McGregor, reporter from the T. Times, was with us again to capture the moment. Later, after words were shared, prayers offered, a beautiful sign revealed of what's on the horizon, City Councilwoman Geraldine Dinkins presented Fatland with a symbolic large key. That was a fun moment! Like you, we can hardly wait for those doors to be opened again. Pictures from that evening are on the Mary C. Jenkins Community Center Facebook page.
In other news, ongoing efforts have continued to take place with the African American Storyline Project, specifically as it relates to historic signage. Things have not always followed my imagined vision. My moving and the arrival of the pandemic certainly had us creatively adjusting, especially in the area of involving community.
An initial 30 signs have been completed. Most are now in the ground or on the side of a structure. My sincere thanks to Edith Darity and Torry Nergart for accompanying myself and Wayne Brown (Signs & More) to identify precise site locations before installation could take place. A few signs (French Broad, Glade Creek, Frogg Bottom) are waiting for feedback about the best spot onsite for display.
A couple (the Clemson Theater and Greasy Corner) are being held back until present construction in the area or planned developments have been completed. What has been absolutely rewarding and completely delightful, has been the constant feedback that has been completely positive. Thank you for taking the time to walk around the neighborhood, discover the newly planted signs, post your pictures, share nice comments, ask questions and generally push for the more that I don't have to give you... yet! Coming will be an insert in the Morning Glory Inspirations brochure that lists the 30+ signs. Coming will be the means for you to take a self-guided tour with more information about each site. If your preference is to have a tour guide, when it's safe, we will start the monthly historic walking tours again. Stay tuned and stay interested. If you have not seen the signs yet, I invite you to take yourself on an adventure. Go for a stroll, a bike ride or a drive in the car and look for as many signs as you can find. Take your dog. Include your children. Make it a fun, shared learning experience. What did you discover that you didn't know before? What did you notice? Share your feedback here. We'd love to hear it!
(Newsworthy items for submission for Rosenwald Community News are welcomed from community members, churches, clubs and groups. If you have an idea for a story or interview for me to capture, please let me know. Enjoy your week. Contact Nicola Karesh at [email protected] or call (828) 421-8615.)