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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Laura B. Waddell, August 6, 2002. Interview R-0175. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Rising taxes force African Americans from their neighborhood

Rising property taxes have driven many African Americans from her neighborhood, Waddell worries. At the same time, the neighborhood appears to have declined; Waddell's house stands out for its cleanliness and good upkeep.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Laura B. Waddell, August 6, 2002. Interview R-0175. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

KIERAN TAYLOR:
What about in this neighborhood here, I know that basically African-American residents have been forced out of down town and midtown just by the, with them coming in and gentrifying all the houses. Is this neighborhood yet under any kind of pressure like that?
LAURA B. WADDELL:
I think so. I definitely think so because our taxes have really increased quite a bit. My taxes here are almost three times higher than they were three years ago. That house next door, which is a rooming house, and there are ladies of the evening coming and going all around here. They even sit on the church steps over here at night. If we call the police, they will come. But I'm not going to be up at three o'clock looking out my window just to call the police. We're all lights out at eleven o'clock in this house. We're asleep.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
How long have you been in this house?
LAURA B. WADDELL:
About thirty-eight years.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
Oh, okay. You've got some time in this house.
LAURA B. WADDELL:
Yes. Yes. Yes. And honestly we are the only house in this block that cares about the property. My husband is constantly out there cleaning. When you leave here you can just stand somewhere and look at the whole block.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
As I was driving down the street, I mean, your house definitely stands out. It's one of the exceptional—well, they're all beautiful homes. They're just not kept up.
LAURA B. WADDELL:
Aren't they? Yeah. We had a problem a couple of weeks ago, a couple of, yeah, I'd say a month ago. From Barnard Street to this house right here, on the sidewalk was so overgrown and so full of leaves and stuff that they have not done anything for the last six months. It took me two months to get the city to come out and cut the limbs because it is on the property owners' part of the street, and they say they have to get in touch with them. But people couldn't walk down the sidewalk. The limbs were overhanging on the sidewalk. I wouldn't have noticed it because we drive, you drive everywhere you go, but my husband and I started this walking thing, and I couldn't get by. I said I don't believe this. Then I started going to the library, which is walking distance from my house, and the sidewalk was so littered with leaves and filth until it took me almost a month and a half to get them to come out. They have to pass the request from one department to the other. I just got furious, but they finally got it taken care of but for how long. It's already started growing up again. If people don't constantly take care of the property and by them being on that part, the traffic is coming down all of the leaves and trash end up in my driveway. I'm the only one cleaning around here.