Mural honors the history of Depot Street

Earlier this week representatives with Innovation Quarter and Inmar Intelligence unveiled a mural on East 7th Street honoring the legacy of Depot Strreet. The mural was painted by local artist Leo Rucker.

Mural honors the history of  Depot Street
December 02
14:29 2020

Earlier this week Innovation Quarter and Inmar Intelligence unveiled a street mural designed to honor the history of the Depot Street neighborhood.

The striking mural commissioned through Innovation Quarter’s iQ Community Labs and underwritten by Inmar, is located on East 7th St., between Patterson Ave. and Research Pkwy., and was created by local artist Leo Rucker. The mural features more than two dozen people or buildings that reflect the rich history of Depot Street. 

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the area surrounding the former R.J. Reynolds manufacturing facilities was known as the Depot Street neighborhood. Depot Street (now Patterson Avenue) was one of the first prestigious Black neighborhoods in Winston-Salem and remained as such with institutions like the Clark S. Brown Funeral Home, Patterson Avenue YMCA, and Goler Memorial AME Zion Church having a continued presence.  

Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 1, Rucker, who has painted several pieces located across the city, said the Depot Street piece is one of his favorites because it brings back so many memories. Rucker said he fondly remembers walking to his uncle’s house that was on Depot Street. “This has a personal, more intimate feel to it,” Rucker said, while standing next to the mural. 

“This is personal to me because I grew up in part of this community. I knew some of these people … I had an uncle who lived in a duplex house that was right here when I was seven years old. I used to walk from 14th Street to here … that was just our thing to do.”

Although he is familiar with the neighborhood, Rucker said a lot of images on the mural were made possible by people sharing stories with him. When asked how it feels to be able to introduce people to the history of Depot Street, Rucker said it’s exciting. He said the mural is perfect for the location. 

“It’s exciting because I have kids that go to Wake Forest that live in these apartments down here, so they’ll walk by and notice it. Even if they don’t know, they stop and look. Then I have people who have been living here for 10 years who say they’re finally glad to see something on this wall,” Rucker said. “And this is the perfect thing to be on this wall, because it connects everybody and everything to this history.”

Other speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony included City Councilmember and representative of the East Ward Annette Scippio, David Mounts, chairman and CEO of Inmar Intelligence, and Dave McIntosh, vice president and chief inclusion and diversity officer for Wake Forest Baptist Health. 

Mounts said Inmar is committed to making connections throughout the community that result in real change. 

“Inmar is committed to taking action and making connections that result in real change forour employees and our communities, with a focus on advancing human opportunity, equity, love, and honor,” Mounts said. “This mural is an important recognition and reminder of great Americans and historically Black-owned businesses that have left an indelible imprint on our home city of Winston-Salem.”

McIntosh said he was proud to be able to help bring the mural to Innovation Quarter.

 “Our commitment to racial equity and diversity includes celebrating the rich history that exists in the communities we serve,” he continued. “This new mural commemorates decades of Black history in entrepreneurship and community building and we are proud to help bring it to the innovation quarter.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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