Trees are the Earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. --- Rabindranath Tagore
I caught this amazing view on my way towards Downtown Winston-Salem this morning. Don't see it? Look closer. From across a parking lot, a lone tree was lending it's shadow across the entire expanse of this five story building. Wow, wow, wow. I have never seen anything like this; it truly was a wonder to witness.
The low-rise building holds great historical importance for our Black community. It has been a source of economic and civic pride for African-Americans since it was built by Winston Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1969. Businesses set up shop, and the building has been used by community leaders to discuss social and political issues. The Winston Mutual Building is within sight of the city's newest historical marker, dedicated to the Winston-Salem Chapter of the Black Panther Party.
Think of the history that has taken place on this corner, close to the intersection of East Fifth Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. 1969 is the same year the city's chapter of the Black Panther Party was organized, working to feed poor children and infusing a spirit of black pride into the community. That same year, Winston-Salem State College was designated by legislative approval as Winston-Salem State University.
Nationally, in 1969 Richard Nixon was inaugurated as President, Woodstock was billed as three days of Peace and Music, Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon, and Sesame Street first aired.
And this weekend, within a half mile of this spot, we are planting our own trees and creating our own history. Saturday is Community Roots Day, and we will come together for this annual tree planting project. Just this morning I passed the City trucks as they began preparation. I'm excited to be a part of the day, and we'll do our part to Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it's the only things that ever has. --- Margaret Mead