Public Enemy co-founder, activist will speak at block party

Professor Griff and Clarence Henderson

Public Enemy co-founder, activist will speak at block party
April 19
18:47 2018

The Winston Mutual Building will soon be the site of a block party with appearances by Public Enemy’s Professor Griff and Clarence Henderson, who was one of the activists in Greensboro’s Woolworth sit-in.

The Wake Up Winston! Community Block Party will be held on Saturday, April 28, from 4.-8 p.m on Fifth Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Cleveland Avenue. Along with its speakers, there will be food vendors, a DJ and free hot dogs and chips for the first 100 attendees. There will be pony rides, balloon animals and face painting for kids. There will also be numerous community organizations on-hand along with the City of Winston-Salem, Winston-Salem Police Department and Winston-Salem Fire Department.

Fifth Street will be blocked off for the event, but attendees can park in the parking lot of the currently shuttered Burger King on the corner of Martin Luther King and Fifth or along other nearby streets.

The block party is being held by Community Intervention & Educational Services, which provides intervention services for domestic violence offenders, and the nonprofit Eliza’s Helping Hands (EHH), which helps victims in abusive relationships. Both are located in the Winston Mutual Building and founded by Kenya Thornton, who recently received a Human Relations honor at The Chronicle’s Community Service Awards Banquet.

“I have a business here and so I’m invested in the community,” said Thornton. “Even though I don’t live here, I still want the community to be a healthy community and for them to have access to things that other communities have access to.”

It’s also co-sponsored by S.G. Atkins Community Development Corp., a CDC devoted to revitalizing the area around Winston-Salem State University, which will also has a table at the event. Amy Rose Communications is helping promote the event.

Henderson is scheduled to speak at the outdoor stage on Fifth Street at 5 p.m. during the block party. He was part of the Woolworth Sit-in that launched the nationwide sit-in movement in 1960. The protest began on Feb. 1 with four students from A&T State University sitting at the Woolworth counter to protest segregation. Henderson joined his fellow A&T students the next day as part of the protest. He is currently the president of the N.C. chapter of the Fredrick Douglass Foundation, a conservative Christian group

Professor Griff is a rapper, spoken word artist and lecturer who is one of the founding members of the rap group Public Enemy.  He’ll be giving a lecture at 5:30 p.m. inside the Winston Mutual Building during the party.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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