Series: Flood Zone

Raleigh to Morehead in 1974

Ellis Jones had a good job and good life in Raleigh in 1974. He didn’t want to move to the coast. Reluctantly, he drove into Morehead City on a highway 70 shadowed by trees “shaped by nature, and the hurricanes, and the salt… and the fellowship that people have here? It’s incredible.” Jones speaks to…

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A Church Torn Down Around You

Ethel Hill is a lifetime member of St. Stephen’s AME Zion Church in Morehead City. “I grew up in Morehead City, went away, came back, and I’m still here. So, I love my church.” When Hurricane Florence approached the coast in 2018, Ethel and seven family members decided to ride out the storm in their…

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On Slowness

The speed of hurricane recovery efforts is pernicious, says Matthew Reddick of Washington, NC. If he had one word to describe how hurricane recovery functioned in his hometown – he would choose ‘slow.’ “Slow to react, slow to get something done.” In a context when folks are out of their homes, and Reddick sees the…

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Rural Areas: The Kindergarten to High School Factor

Angela Lewis, of Washington NC, speaks to how people would be surprised to know that locals in Washington are not just still recovering from Hurricane Florence in 2018 – many are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. And some families will never financially recover. She notices that her church’s predominantly African American section of…

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North River is Low, North River is Home

It’s been nearly two years since Hurricane Florence’s winds devastated homes in North River, a small coastal community in Carteret County, NC. But Yvonne Pittaway still isn’t home.  “Two rooms – if I can get two rooms repaired, I’m going back home.” Pittaway has been staying with her sister in Morehead City. There, as Pittaway…

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Cheated Out of Their Homes

“I’m not against integration, but I think people are being cheated out of their homes.” Her mother’s home was condemned. Then her uncle’s. Ophelia Chambers’ family homestead has been in the same location off of homestead for at least 4 generations. In the wake of hurricane Florence, her traditionally African American neighborhood has seen an…

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White Control in Fund Distribution

Willie Johnson has been driving 30 minutes from his hometown in New Bern, NC to the more rural area of Trenton, NC for nine years. His congregation is there – in a church located within ‘the bowl’ of Back Street. Many of his parishioners have weathered all of North Carolina’s storms. And geographically, African American…

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White Control in Fund Distribution

Back Street: A Neighborhood in a Bowl

“I can only imagine what my parents had to go through for that land.” Gwendolyn Brown grew up in Back Street, a long-time African American community in Trenton, NC. When you enter the neighborhood, you pull off of ‘Backstreet Road’, go down a gravel hill, and enter what Brown calls ‘a bowl.’ She is familiar…

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Hearing Stories Versus Knowing Stories

Beverly Johnson’s family bought land by the river in Trenton, NC early in the 20th century. Land ownership options then were limited for African Americans families. Inheriting land in a flood zone was not Johnson’s choice, but she does see many white families in Trenton these days choosing to buy waterfront property. Flood Zone is…

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The Evolution of a City, from Bay Street

Dallas White-Wells can remember when the young people in Morehead City always had something to do. “Now it’s mostly for retirees and beach people.” White-Wells was born on Bay Street in Morehead City, NC. She lived in this almost entirely African American part of town by Calico Creek until she was 18. Later in her…

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