Memorializing the 1887 lynching in College Hill: Soil collection ceremony at Church of the Covenant, September 30

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

~ Maya Angelou,
On the Pulse of Morning

An invitation to the College Hill neighborhood:

On Saturday, September 30, 2023, the Guilford County Community Remembrance Project will hold a soil collection ceremony from 10:00 a.m.-noon in the Fellowship Hall at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 S. Mendenhall Street, to honor the memory of Eugene Hairston, Guilford County’s only documented victim of lynching, and commemorate his brutal murder 136 years ago.

We soil collection jarscordially invite College Hill neighbors to attend this solemn ceremony.

Open to all community members, this free two-hour event will feature clerical leaders, elected officials, scholars and artists. During the ceremony, soil collected from the general site of Eugene Hairston’s lynching will be placed into large glass jars labeled with his name, county and date of death. One jar will become part of the permanent collection of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama. Tentative plans are to donate additional jars of soil to our local programming partners, the Greensboro History Museum and the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

The goals of this initiative are to foster healing and understanding around the legacy of racial violence and to promote empathy, reconciliation, and a shared commitment to equal justice under the law.

The Guilford County Community Remembrance Project was formed in November 2018 by a group of Guilford County residents to remember and publicly acknowledge the only documented lynching in Guilford County, that of Eugene Hairston, a 17-year old African-American man who was lynched in Greensboro in August 1887. By acknowledging the painful truth of this brutal act (a little known historical fact), and the ongoing impact of racial terror, GCCRP works to advance racial reconciliation and equal justice for all. The GCCRP operates under the auspices of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. The organization opened The National Memorial for Peace & Justice and The Legacy Museum in April 2018 in memory of the victims of lynching in America.

Registration is not required, but if you plan to attend, a response (via email) would be greatly appreciated.


The GCCRP Steering Committee
Dr. Deborah Barnes, Carole Biggers, Jacqui Graves, Terry Hammond, Dr. Rhonda Jones and Karen Skelton

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Rosemarie DiGiorgio named CHNA interim president

Samantha Stewart has stepped down as president of the College Hill Neighborhood Association, and Rosemarie DiGiorgio has been elected to succeed her as interim  president. Samantha cited her commitments with her new child and a new job.

“It has been a pleasure serving as College Hill Neighborhood Association president for the past three years,” Samantha said. “This has been a busy year for my family. In March we welcomed our son, Hugo, and in July I accepted the role of executive director at the Marion Stedman Covington Foundation, along with continuing my work as a preservation consultant.

“With all these new responsibilities, I want to ensure the CHNA continues to have a strong leadership presence. I am so grateful that my mom, Rosemarie DiGiorgio, is willing and able to take on the role before the next election. She has demonstrated her exceptional project management, communication, organizational, and leadership skills time and time again as head of the Streets Committee. I look forward to seeing all the work she accomplishes as president. I plan to continue serving College Hill as a board member under her leadership.”

Rosemarie was elected to succeed Samantha at the August meeting of the neighborhood association.

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City cites College Hill’s new street signs in quarterly report

From the City of Greensboro’s quarterly progress report on the GSO2040 Comprehensive Plan:

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For sale: An unusual house at an address with a forlorn history

square, two-story brick house

919 Carr Street, now for sale for a remarkable $299,000

919 Carr Street is a real eye-catcher, a squat little brick bunker built decades after its neighbors. First-time visitors to Carr Street always ask, “How did that get there?” It’s not that the house is ugly; some people don’t care for its looks, some do. It’s just so out of place. Built in 1961, it may not be a great example of Mid-Century Modern architecture, but its almost square design, flat roof and second-floor balcony give it a distinctive look.

The house has been an Airbnb for a few months. It went up for sale last week at a wildly inflated $299,000. A sign of the times, for which you can thank the City Council, the house is priced far out of reach of anyone except short-term rental operators (the owner claims it can turn over $300,000 a year). The price comes to a staggering $277 per square foot. That’s an Irving Park price. For comparison, several of College Hill’s best preserved houses have been sold in the past two years at a maximum of $194 per square foot, including 212 S. Mendenhall Street, 213 S. Mendenhall, 303 S. Mendenhall and 915 Spring Garden.

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This month at the HPC: A COA application for new fencing, a retaining wall and more at 301 N. Mendenhall Street

two-story house on a corner with gray asbestos-shingle siding

301 S. Mendenhall Street

Update: The application was continued until the July meeting to get more detailed information.

The Historic Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing this month on one request for a certificate of appropriateness in College Hill. The meeting will be held Wednesday June 28, 4 p.m., in the Plaza Level Conference Room of the Melvin Municipal Building.

The College Hill Neighborhood Association will discuss the application at its meeting Monday June 26, 7 p.m., to be held online (Zoom details are the right side of the page).

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Long-awaited College Hill street signage project to begin

Diagram showing decorative College Hill street signsNews release from the City of Greensboro:

Post Date:05/31/2023 11:32 AM

“Refurbished decorative street name signs and sign posts will soon grace the historic College Hill neighborhood. A City contractor will be removing signs at about 30 intersections throughout College Hill to be refurbished, upgraded, and reinstalled.

“Supplemental signage to highlight College Hill Historic District will be added at 12 key intersections in the neighborhood. Decorative street lamp posts will not be removed.

“This work is expected to take about 60 days to complete and will involve the removal of all street name signs for several weeks.

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This month at the HPC: Window changes and a new fence

Update: Both COA applications were approved.

The Historic Preservation Commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday, May 31, at 4 p.m. The agenda will include public hearings on two applications for certificates of appropriateness for College Hill properties at 706 Spring Garden Street and 924 Carr Street. The meeting will be held in the Plaza Level Conference Room, Melvin Municipal Building, 300 W. Washington Street.

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Arlen Nicolls named to Historic Preservation Commission

Arlen Nicolls has been named the College Hill representative on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. She is a Realtor and has lived in College Hill since 2008. Arlen has long been active in the College Hill Neighborhood Association, having served as a board member and treasurer.

The Historic Preservation Commission is a quasi-judicial board that reviews applications for Certificates of Appropriateness for exterior work in Greensboro’s three local historic districts. All exterior work on historic-district properties must meet the city’s Historic District Program Manual and Design Guidelines. New construction also requires a COA and is subject to the guidelines.

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Guilford’s only documented lynching occurred in College Hill; you can learn about it via Zoom on Thursday February 23

1887 newspaper article reporting the lynching of Eugene HairstonGuilford County’s only documented lynching occurred in 1887 at a location described vaguely at the time as on or near “Mr. Jackson’s farm.” That farm was located in the general area of the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in College Hill. The Guilford County Community Remembrance Project has researched the lynching and will make a presentation this month to a virtual meeting of the City of Greensboro’s Ad-hoc Committee on African American Disparity.

The meeting will be held Thursday February 23 at 6 p.m. via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 915 1305 6243
Passcode: 793452
Dial by Phone: 301 715 8592

“We are working to bring awareness to the legacy of lynching and racial terror in Guilford County,” project organizer Terry Hammond said in 2020, when a similar presentation was planned at the church. It was canceled when public gatherings were banned because of the pandemic.

“In the only documented lynching in Guilford County, Eugene Hairston, a 17-year-old African-American from Kernersville, was accused of assaulting a white 17-year old woman from Colfax. He was ‘taken into the suburbs of the city, in the neighborhood of Mr. Jackson’s farm and hanged near the little brick school house,’ the Greensboro Morning News reported on August 26, 1887.

“After months of research, the location has been determined to be close to the present day Presbyterian Church of the Covenant and Jackson Street/Walker Avenue.”

Among the news overage of the Remembrance Project are an editorial in the News & Record, Our Opinion: Light unto darkness; and front-page features in the News and Record and Triad City Beat.

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Homeowners and absentee landlords: Here’s how property ownership in College Hill stands today

College Hill mapThe January neighborhood association meeting on Monday will include a discussion of how to better engage College Hill’s many landlords in maintaining and improving the neighborhood. It’s a challenge that has been addressed with little success and varying degrees of enthusiasm and frustration since the association was established more than 40 years ago. But it’s an issue as relevant today as ever. Property ownership in College Hill is still tilted toward rentals and threatens to become even more imbalanced as the neighborhood’s home prices soar beyond the reach of most families but not of many “real estate investors.”

Absentee landlords have made up a large share of College Hill’s property owners since the Depression. Today, the mix is about 53 percent rental properties and 45 percent owner-occupied homes (the other 2 percent are vacant1Oddly, a total of 15 properties, almost 4 percent of the neighborhood’s residential properties, have achieved the ultimate in absentee ownership and are now owned by landlords who have died. The nine houses owned by James Dutton have been listed for sale by his estate. Nothing appears to be happening yet with the six owned by Jeff Towne.).

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