Preserving a neighborhood

“Residents’ ancestors built the stone walls that surround the University and hauled water from the Old Well to student dorms. Many current residents worked for the University and UNC Hospitals in the past, and some continue to work there today.”

For Della Pollock, preserving people’s life stories is more than a way to chronicle the past. It also creates a path to cultivate future aspirations.

In 2007, Pollock, a professor of communication, launched a service-learning project that involved her students in the life of Northside, a historically black neighborhood near downtown Chapel Hill, where they listened to oral histories of longtime residents. At the time, she couldn’t imagine the effort growing to a public history and community development organization, the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Saving and Making History. The Center has become the linchpin for revitalizing a neighborhood that during the past three decades has seen exponential growth in the number of investor-owned properties and a corresponding decline in its black population.

Read the complete Carolina Story…

This is story number 32 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

In March 2015, the University provided a critical financial boost to the effort with a $3 million, 10-year, no-interest loan to Self-Help to find ways to make Northside a diverse, family-oriented neighborhood once again.

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