City + Citizen News

Podcast: Highland leaders reflect on neighborhood history, community resiliency

Friday, February 22

Part one of our discussion with Highland neighborhood leaders on their community's past and what its future can be


Plenty of people in Spartanburg believe they know the story of our city's Highland community. Long one of the most challenging areas of intergenerational poverty Spartanburg County, the struggles of Highland and its residents are seemingly well-known by locals but most often completely misunderstood. Lost in the decades-old local narrative of crime and poverty are the stories of the people who call Highland home, who love their community and work every day to see it thrive. The story of Highland that we don't often hear is one of community cohesion, of neighbors coming together in fellowship and in support of each other in times of need, and of a fiercely proud neighborhood that rightly views itself as vital to Spartanburg's future.


The fuller picture of what really happened in Highland during the 20th century is also lost in that well-worn local narrative, a story of longterm, systemic racism, the thoughtlessness of paternalistic local government officials, and the heavy-handedness of misguided federal Urban Renewal programs working in tandem to cut the neighborhood off at the knees for generations. It is a story not uncommon in cities all over America, and one that our city must reckon with.


Today on part one of our podcast with community leaders in Highland we're delving into that background as the City and the community begin to move forward on a master planning process to create a holistic blueprint for Highland's future, covering everything from housing and transportation, to education and job training programs. Highland Neighborhood Association President Leroy Jeter, Community Outreach Advocate Wilma Moore, and Bethlehem Center Director Patrena Mims join us to share the real story of a resilient community poised and ready to see its next chapter unfold.


Want to listen to our podcast on your iOS device? Follow this link to subscribe through iTunes. Android user? Find us on the Google Play store here. Got Stitcher? Follow this link to listen. Podcast music provided by Spartanburg singer-songwriter, David Ezell.