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True South: Reclaiming Southern History & Narrative: Transformation of Dix Park Raleigh

“A thriving South is not just a South of opportunity, it’s a South of possibility. We need more than empty promises of ‘opportunity.’ We need possibilities that extend toward the galaxies we ultimately want to inhabit.”

These words from MDC President John Simpkins served as a launching point for True South, MDC’s 2022-23 programmatic series that explores how—and if—Southerners are reckoning with the current era of economic, social, and environmental upheaval. The series is a reimagining of MDC’s State of the South reports, which have provided a valuable resource for Southern policymakers and practitioners for over 25 years.

True South kicked off in October 2022 with an evening of arts and dialogue at the historic Hayti Heritage Center in MDC’s home community of Durham, North Carolina. Through words, both spoken and sung, North Carolina artists provided a critical look at the role the arts play in advancing racial and economic justice in the South. This set the stage for the next day’s convening at NC Central University, which drew over 100 people from nonprofits, philanthropy, government, business, and community who were charged with first looking backward in order to move forward.

Reclaiming the Past, Reimagining the Future: The transformation of Dix Park in Raleigh Organized by South Arts and Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources, City of Raleigh How can cities recognize traumatic histories of public spaces while envisioning new possibilities to serve local community?

  • Johnny Lee Chapman III (he/him), Artist
  • Trey Roberts (he/him), Community Engagement Manager, Dix Park Conservancy
  •  Moderator: Kate Pearce (she/her), Planning Supervisor, Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department, City of Raleigh

For more on the event/series:

Published: Apr 13, 2023

Topics: Southern Culture & Narrative, The South