It’s Been 100 Years: When Will You Learn?

On May 9, 2013 W-S Celebrates the 100 Year Anniversary of the City's of Winston and Salem merging into what we now call Winston-Salem.

On May 9, 2013 W-S Celebrates the 100 Year Anniversary of the City’s of Winston and Salem merging into what we now call Winston-Salem.


When will you learn?

The fact of the matter is that the facts are dynamic.

To dream for the future, one must first understand the present.

To understand the present, one must first flip back to yesterday.

Another ‘X’ on the calendar, is it really over?

Yes, we have moved past the days when “whites only” signs dictated the Black man’s mood.

Nappy-headed girls can live in harmony with silky-haired girls.

African-American boys can skin their knees on the same gravel as Caucasians,

But is it really over?

To say that skin-color is a non-factor is untrue, right?

Correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know, car doors are still locked when driving down MLK street.

Brown skin is still associated with guns and cocaine as pale as a white woman’s face when passing a Black man at night.

Yet, we say it’s over.

Look closely.

Racism still exists between the pages of checkbooks, in which a Black man’s salary is only three quarters of his white coworker’s.

Darryl Hunt can be seen in the traces of injustice that linger over every African-American male that I know.

When hope runs desert-dry, Negro spirituals are sung with Larry Little’s voice in every note.

But we are not the victims.

If anything, we should be ashamed of the fact that we have yet to diminish the stereotypes that keep us behind the bars of inequality and dirty looks.

We had our chance.

Self-determinant Blacks threw themselves onto their own social ladder,

Too strong to fail until integration came and disintegrated their feelings of self-worth.

For what it’s worth, taxi cabs and bus lines did take us from one state of mind to another,

But when the Safe Bus Company becomes just another exhibit in the NCT Museum, we know we have regressed.

The baton of Civil Rights has been placed in the hazelnut hands of Hispanics, but race is still seen as black and white.

As if diversity is achieved when a few Black children are placed in a predominately white classroom.

Mrs. Jones,

Teach them that the 1.14% Asian population matters just as much as the 37.29% African Americans, who matter just as much as the 55.56% Caucasians and it is an abomination to say that the 6.01% “others” don’t count.

The only way to abolish inequality is to become discontent with this insane state of ignorance.

To change the city, we must first become aware of the facts.

The fact is that it starts with unlocking our doors on MLK Street.

The RJR tobacco workers got that message back in 1943.

Streets lined with people trying to stretch Dr. King’s legacy more than they stretch a dollar,

I have a dream that one day all these different colors in Winston will merge into one: the color of equity, which shines bright as a man’s first earned dime.

So yes, let freedom ring.

But so shall equality because the sound of harmony is just so perfect.


Written by

Nonnie Egbuna, 15 years old, an author, spoken word artist, and change-maker who is part of Authoring Action.  Click here to read Noonie’s blog post about creating this piece for the Dream Machine Project.

Nonnie Christine Egbuna, author, spoken word artist, member of Authoring Action

Nonnie Christine Egbuna, author, spoken word artist, member of Authoring Action


This piece was created as part of The Dream Machine Installation, the result of a collaborative project to honor Winston-Salem’s Centennial (the 100 year anniversary of the towns Salem and Winston merging). The Project was made possible through an Innovative Project Grant from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County.


The prominent youth arts and writing group, Authoring Action, teamed up with the creative community collective, Imagination Installations, and local artist Wren Wilson to build a piece of art which would reflect on Winston-Salem’s rich history while capturing the youth’s dreams for the city. 


Each Authoring Action teen author chose an area of history to focus on in their writing, which developed over several weeks and was based on research into the City’s past. The written works were paired with photographs from the past 100 years selected from the DataForsyth archival project and photo collections of The Forsyth County Public Library as well as local University Libraries. Spoken word poetry, blogging and video outreach is also part of the Project.


The collaborating partners hope that this installation will inspire our community to imagine new possibilities for our city as we move forward together.


Imagination Installations is a grassroots project that collects and shares the dreams of people in our community using the statement, “Imagine When…” Interactive Public Art Exhibits, Imagination Events, and Imagination Team Building Workshops are just of a few of the group’s ongoing activities. For more information visit


Authoring Action works with teenagers using the power of creative writing and spoken word to grow new world leaders and foster positive change in our community. For more information visit



One Response to It’s Been 100 Years: When Will You Learn?
  1. Eric
    May 9, 2013 | 6:50 pm

    Would that each community only expected and respected what every other community received. I grew up in Winston-Salem and went to RJReynolds High School in the downtown area where every culture and creed was in attendance with no difference. There is still segregation in the communities of North Winston where you can always count on people who will make anyone who is not black feel unsafe and count on kids who vandalize and disrespect their own communities because their parents take no pride in their own home. I cannot say the same of any other minority or even of any other community in the city. The segregation in Winston-Salem continues in the communities that wish it to.