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History of Warnersville Community

We have heard on numerous occasions that you cannot appreciate your present unless you know something of your past.This statement becomes particularly meaningful to those whose roots trace back to the "Old Warnersville Community."

Warnersville is a neighborhood in southeast Greensboro. It is the first organized African American community in the city. It was established in 1867 by ex-slaves. It was aptly named for its founder Yardley Warner, a white Pennsylvania Quaker, who bought and resold 37 acres of land to people of color who had previously been unable to own property in Greensboro.

Warner hired an ex-slave, Harmon Un-Thank, with a keen business savvy to divide the property into lots and sell it. This community was settled by people who had limited education and less formal training, but it was the first community where people of color could own homes, build their own churches, run their own businesses and educate their children.

As Warnersville flourished and thrived it attracted more black professionals and soon became the birthplace of many African American businesses. Grocery Stores, Funeral Homes, Cleaners, Shoe Shops, Entertainment Spots, and many others became thriving businesses in the community.


Warnersville Business District

Probably most influential to families in the community was its churches and schools.

The church created, influenced and reinforced community ethics. It provided for social as well as religious needs of the community. St. Matthews Episcopal Church (currently St. Matthews United Methodist Church) and Shiloh Baptist Church particularly were vital to the early growth and development of Warnersville.These churches were organized before the turn of the
century. It was in 1873 that Bennett College was established in the basement of St.
Matthews United Methodist Church.

Six other churches had their existence in Warnersville. St. Phillips A.M.E. Zion Church, St.
James Baptist Church and Shiloh Baptist Church are still a part of the Warnersville
Community. New Zion Missionary Baptist Church,Wells Memorial Church of God in Christ, Gethsemane Baptist Church, Mt. Pleasant Christian Church and St. Matthews located outside the community after urban renewal in the 1960's.

New Zion Missionary Baptist Church

Haynes Holiness Church is no longer in existence. The schools were a source of educating and serving as an important cultural function for children in the community.The schools reinforced moral values and children were pushed to excel. Early schools in the community were The Lutheran School,The McAdoo School, Jacksonville School,Old Ashe Street School, David D. Jones School and J. C. Price School.

J.C. Price School
J.C. Price School

J. C. Price School is the only original physical landmark left in the community from past generations.To destroy it will not only abolish a historical monument and Greensboro treasure but it will erase a symbol of this communities great achievements.The school sits in the center of the community where there are precious few reminders of the history of this proud African American community. It educated many outstanding personalities in the Greensboro Community including A. H. Peeler, Ezell Blair, Jr., Randolph Blackwell, Otis Hairston, Sr., Sam Penn, Connie Raiford, Dr. Lorenza Shoffner, Lillian Harris, Bob McAdoo, Lou Hudson,Attorney Herb Parks, Fred Huntley, Dr. James Waddy, Constance Griffin and many others.

Lillian Harris

Warnersville was a victim of the city's urban renewal program in the 1960's. Its intent was to remove the perceived blithe associated with the community and to build affordable housing.
In doing so they destroyed the good with the bad. Lost was all of the beautiful architecture found in many of the old stately homes and especially the churches. Many black owned businesses were demolished without giving them the opportunity to reestablish in the community. Warnersville Community Center was established in 1959. It has served the community for many years with recreational programs for youth and adults, after school programs and physical fitness programs.The swimming pool was opened in 1974 and was named and dedicated to Mr. Connie L. Raiford in 1978.The youth basketball and football programs have won several city wide championships.The first center director was
Alma C. Evans and is now directed by Mel Melton.

Much needed housing was developed for the elderly and low income families in the 1960's - 1980's. St. James Baptist Church and Shiloh Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Prince Graves and Rev. Otis Hairston, Sr. developed through non-profit HUD programs St. James Homes and J.T. Hairston Homes. Hampton Homes were developed by the city. Hampton Homes were named for Dr. William Hampton, a Warnersville physician who was the first black to serve on the Greensboro City Council.
Dr. William Hampton


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